Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) reportedly said that despite the “symbolism” of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) deciding to announce her run for president on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, voters had yet to see her provide “substance.”
Harris announced Monday that she would be running for President of the United States in the 2020 election. She made her intentions official on ABC News’ Good Morning America. Her campaign also posted an official video.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 21, 2019
“Truth. Justice. Decency, Equality. Freedom. Democracy. These aren’t just words. They’re the values we, as Americans, cherish. And they’re all on the line now,” Harris says in the video.
(She will give a speech in Oakland next Sunday, Jan. 27, marking the official launch of her presidential campaign.)
Media coverage focused on the fact that Harris is the first woman of color to be a top contender, noting the link to the MLK Day. observance Monday.
But Harris, who is a first-term U.S. Senator without any accomplishments to her name other than winning the seat, faces some degree of skepticism from Democratic Party veterans who are still keeping their options open for 2020.
CNN political reporter Rebecca Buck asked Rep. Clyburn, the third-highest-ranking House Democrat as Majority Whip, for his take. He offered support — and skepticism:
We asked Rep. Jim Clyburn what he thinks of Kamala Harris announcing her candidacy on MLK Day. “Well, I think that’s a pretty good symbol,” he said. “But everybody will wait to see exactly how the substance will square with the symbolism.”
— Rebecca Buck (@RebeccaBuck) January 21, 2019
Notably, Clyburn stayed neutral in the race between then-Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL) until the end of the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, when he finally sided with Obama (despite pressure from former President Bill Clinton.)
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.