When Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) faces Vice President Mike Pence on the debate stage Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, it will be one of the first times she has faced questions publicly since becoming Joe Biden’s running mate two months ago.
One of the few times she has answered questions was in an interview with the NAACP last week, when Harris praised the “brilliance” of the Black Lives Matter movement and its Marxist founders. She also said people should protest “peacefully.”
It was one of the few times that Harris has spoken out in any way against the violence that has swept through the streets of American cities over the past few months as Black Lives Matter protests led to looting, vandalism, arson, and attacks on police and journalists.
In fact, Harris did not speak out against the violence until the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August — when poll numbers began to turn against the Democratic ticket, who failed to mention the riots at their party convention.
Harris also called on supporters to donate money to bail out those arrested during riots in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody:
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 1, 2020
Those released included violent criminals, such as domestic abusers.
On May 30, just hours after “peaceful protesters” outside the White House in Lafayette Park attacked police, and assaulted journalists, Harris joined the demonstration. That same day in her home state of California, Black Lives Matter protests were exploding into riots. “Peaceful protesters” in L.A. destroyed police cars, looted stores, and vandalized synagogues. The next day, the “peaceful protesters” in D.C. partially burned St. John’s Episcopal Church across the street from Lafayette Park.
In a statement she delivered at the Senate Judiciary Committee two-and-a-half weeks later, Harris praised the nationwide protests: “There are thousands of people marching in the streets in 50 states demanding meaningful change. The people are demanding action.”
She added that “we must re-imagine what public safety looks like,” which is a euphemism for defunding the police. She did not condemn the riots, nor did she emphasize the importance of nonviolent protest as a means of change.
Instead, Harris insisted — against glaring evidence to the contrary — that the riots were, in fact, “peaceful” protests. And she led the charge against law enforcement.
We’ve all seen the pictures of horrific injuries peaceful protestors have sustained after being shot with rubber bullets—including broken bones, permanent blindness, and deep bruises.
My colleagues and I are calling for an immediate review of the use of rubber bullets by police.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 11, 2020
In July, as rioters attacked a federal courthouse in Portland, she introduced a bill to block what she called “federal paramilitary occupations in Portland and other American cities.” Harris did not condemn the rioters; instead she condemned the Trump administration’s response to the riots as the actions of “an authoritarian regime.”
Harris and Biden only began to condemn the riots forcefully after Kenosha in late August. Like Biden, Harris’s initial response was to blame police.
Jacob Blake should not be fighting for his life right now.
As @JoeBiden said, there must be an immediate investigation and the officers involved should be held accountable.
Jacob, our nation is praying for you and your entire family. https://t.co/F4CSs6JnjS
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 24, 2020
She began speaking out more clearly against violence after a right-wing protester was murdered in Portland days later by a left-wing protester who described himself as “100% Antifa.”
I join @JoeBiden in condemning this violence. This can not—and must not—be who we are. Americans deserve a president who will heal our country and bring people together—not fan the flames of hate and division. https://t.co/21h00uFFR7
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 30, 2020
Biden, at least, had condemned violence before — though usually while blaming police and describing rioters as “peaceful.” Kamala Harris left it until very late.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
This article has been updated to include Harris’s call for bail for rioters arrested in Minneapolis.