By Brett Samuels, THE HILL, 08/11/20
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President Trump on Tuesday said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was his “number one pick” to be named presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden‘s running mate, knocking her unsuccessful presidential bid and complaining at length that she was “nasty” to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Trump was asked during a briefing – ostensibly about the coronavirus pandemic – about Harris’ record and her potential effect on the race.
“She was my number one pick. I mean she was… my number one draft pick, and we’ll see how she works out,” Trump said in his first public comments since Biden announced Harris as his running mate earlier Tuesday. “She did very, very poorly in the primaries as you know. She was expected to do well. And she ended up right around 2 percent and spent a lot of money. She had a lot of things happening. So I was a little surprised she picked her.
“I’ve been watching her for a long time. I was a little surprised,” he continued. “She was extraordinarily nasty to Judge Kavanaugh… She was nasty to to a level that was just a horrible thing, the way she treated now-Justice Kavanaugh, and I won’t forget that soon. So she did very poorly in the primaries and now she’s chosen so let’s see how that all works out.”
Trump, who donated to Harris’ campaign for California attorney general in 2013, said he felt Harris was among the most liberal senators. The president was teed up for an attack on Harris when a reporter asked “why would she lie” about her past with marijuana, citing an appearance on “The Breakfast Club” when she said she smoked the drug in college.
But the president seemed unenthused while rattling off his attacks on Harris, and he appeared surprised when a reporter referenced his campaign ad that called the senator “phony.” Trump had tweeted out the ad roughly an hour before the briefing.
Trump, asked what he thought Harris’ net effect on the outcome of the November election would be, said he liked his own running mate, Vice President Pence, “much better,” calling him “solid as a rock.”
Biden on Tuesday afternoon announced the California senator as his running mate days before the Democratic National Convention, hailing her as “a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants.”
Harris, in being named to the ticket, would become the first woman of color on a major party’s presidential ticket upon her nomination next week. She gained national attention during Trump’s first term for her sharp questioning of Kavanaugh when he was nominated to the Supreme Court and of Attorney General Bill Barr.
The Trump campaign quickly issued a statement and ad attacking Harris as “phony” and accusing her of supporting far-left ideas such and being anti-police. The latter attack may prove difficult to land, as Harris has faced criticism from the left over her record as a prosecutor and attorney general, and Biden has said he is against activists who want to “defund the police.”