Sen. Kamala Harris started off her town hall late Sunday at Iowa State by discussing the frustration she said she believes Americans have been feeling during Donald Trump’s presidency, saying people need to fight to protect progress.
“There is nothing, by way of progress that we have achieved as a country, that came without a fight,” Harris said. “Anything that has been about social justice, civil rights: it all came through because we’re up for a good fight. We believe in fighting for the best of who we are as a country.”
Harris said she believes she is up for that fight. She discussed a number of her policy positions, including the climate crisis, gun control, trade policy and taking on “big banks.” While touching on all these topics, she reminded the crowd since her days as a prosecutor she has been “Kamala Harris for the people.”
“When we talk about being for the people, it was based on a concept that is very important for our system of justice,” Harris said. “When we talk about being for the people, it is understanding that a harm against one of us is a harm against all of us.”
The former prosecutor turned her speech to focus on the president, currently facing an impeachment inquiry.
“Justice is on the ballot when we have a crook in the White House,” Harris said. “And let’s be clear, the way I think about it he is just a walking indictment in a red tie.”
Speaking to reporters after the town hall, Harris said she was not surprised to learn of the new whistleblower in the impeachment inquiry.
“I’m not surprised and the fact that there are more whistleblowers is just, I think, confirming what we all know based on the evidence that we’ve actually been presented with, which is that Donald Trump will be and should be impeached,” Harris said.
The senator went through a number of issues, criticizing Trump on each one.
Harris said she believes Trump failed to provide auto workers and farmers the support he promised them in the 2016 election, by passing bills that gave big corporations tax breaks and decreasing the value of soybeans through trade wars with China.
Harris said Trump's border security actions are a “human rights abuse being committed by the United States government”.
She even went as far to tie Trump to the recent mass shootings that have taken place.
“He certainly didn’t pull the trigger,” Harris said. “But he certainly has been tweeting out the ammunition.”
Throughout the town hall, when referring to the next president, Harris and other members of her campaign referred to the next president as “her,” exactly what Ames resident Maggie Murphy said she is hoping to see in the next election.
Sabrina Davis, a precinct leader from Des Moines for the Harris campaign, said she decided she wanted to do anything in her power to make sure Harris wins the election.
“I think she is the only candidate that can take on Trump," Davis said. "She is making plans that can be done in a reasonable amount of time. A lot of people talked to her and said they wanted to keep their private insurance, and she responded to that. I think that is telling of her personality, and how this campaign is going to get to the White House, because she is listening to what people want and responding accordingly.”
At the end of Harris’ speech she touched on what she said is “the donkey in the room” — whether a woman of color can be elected president.
Harris said she is used to this conversation, and Iowa has the power to show the country it is possible, touching on previous firsts when Barack Obama was the first person of color to win the caucuses and Hillary Clinton was the first woman — helping pave the way to their nomination.
Nina Nassif, freshman in design undeclared, said she has volunteered for the campaign and was empowered by Harris.
“After hearing her speak multiple times, it has confirmed [to me] that she is the only person that can beat Donald Trump,” Nassif said. “I think for someone that shares that identity of being a woman and minority — that perspective gives her something super unique and relatable for people to look up to.”