2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard said Tuesday the exchange between fellow Democratic candidates Kamala Harris and Joe Biden was a “political ploy” initiated by Harris.
Harris condemned Biden’s former opposition to federally mandated busing, which aimed to desegregate schools in the 1970s and which Biden argued would “set the Civil Rights Movement farther back,” during the second night of NBC’s first Democratic presidential debates on June 27.
The Democratic Hawaii senator said on CBSN’s “Red and Blue” Tuesday that Harris was “levying this accusation that Joe Biden is racist when he’s clearly not as a way to try to smear him.” (RELATED: Tulsi Gabbard Says It’s A ‘Good Thing’ Trump Met With Kim Jong Un)
“This is just a political ploy and, I think, a very underhanded one just to try to get herself attention and move herself up in the polls” Gabbard continued. “I think that we need to be above that. All of us.”
While Gabbard contended that there are still “racial injustices and inequalities” that need to be addressed in the United States, she said we need to come together more to work toward ending those injustices and “work towards a brighter future.”
“Every single candidate will need to stand up and speak out and defend their own record,” she concluded.
Gabbard’s comments come after she tweeted Monday saying Harris falsely accused Biden of racism. (RELATED: ‘The One Thing You Cannot Say About Joe’: Jill Biden Fires Back At Kamala Harris)
I agree with Axelrod. But let’s get real. It wasn’t a “whole thing” — it was a false accusation that Joe Biden is a racist. https://t.co/KQ8OnhDQ8A
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) July 8, 2019
Harris said to Biden during the debate, “I do not believe you are a racist …. but … it was actually hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputation and career on the segregation of race in this country and it was not only that but you also worked with them to oppose bussing.”
“There was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was me,” she continued in reference to taking part in a busing program when she lived in Berkley, California, as a girl.
Following the debate, her campaign capitalized off her own quote by selling t-shirts that read, “That Little Girl Was Me.”
Biden apologized for his remarks on Sunday in Charleston, South Carolina, telling reporters, “If any comments I made were taken in a way that people took offense from them … I am truly sorry for that. That was not my intention.”
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