Gabbard Blasts Kamala Harris Over Criminal Justice Record

'She kept people in prison to use them as cheap labor for the state of California'

July 31, 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) went after the criminal justice record of Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) during the Democratic debate Wednesday.

"Senator Harris said she was proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she'll be a prosecutor president but I'm deeply concerned about this record," Gabbard said, "She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana."

Gabbard went on to blast Harris for not allowing evidence to be used to get an innocent man on death row, a possible reference to the case of Kevin Cooper.

"She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California, and she fought to keep cash bail system in place that impacts poor people in the worst kind of way," Gabbard said.

"As the elected attorney general of California, I did the work of significantly reforming the criminal justice system of a state of 40 million people which became a national model for the work that needs to be done, and I am proud of that work," Harris responded.

"When you were in a position to make a difference and an impact in these people's lives, you did not,"Gabbard said, "The people who suffered under your reign as prosecutor, you owe them an apology."

Harris's record as attorney general of California has come under scrutiny since she announced her presidential run, especially after Harris went after former Vice President Joe Biden on racial issues in the last debate. Gabbard had said Harris falsely called Biden a racist, and that Harris was not fit to be president.

"Kamala Harris is not qualified to serve as commander in chief, and I can say this from a personal perspective as a soldier," Gabbard said, "She's got no background or experience in foreign policy and she lacks the temperament that is necessary for a commander in chief."