Sen. Kamala Harris Dodges Ellen DeGeneres' Questions About Presidential Run
Though she refused to say whether or not she's running for president, the California senator agreed to be "vetted" by the talk-show host in case she ends up announcing a campaign.
Kamala Harris responded to rumors of her plans to run for president in 2020 during a Thursday appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The Democratic politician and lawyer, who's served as the junior United States senator from California since 2017, told DeGeneres that she's holding off on making any sort of announcement until she tackles more "immediate needs."
"Right now, we are in the early months of 2018, and at this very moment in time, there are people across America who have priorities around their health care, have priorities around: Can they get through the month and pay the bills? Can they pay off their student loans? Can they afford to pay for gas, housing?" she explained. "Critical issues."
Those issues, as Harris told DeGeneres, also include gun control and reversing President Donald Trump's "arbitrary" rescindment of DACA, the Obama administration policy that offered protection from deportation to young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
"These DACA kids, when we talk about where they are in terms of immigration — there are so many pressing issues right now. Guns. We have got to pass an assault weapons ban. We need to have universal background checks," she said. "These are our immediate needs, and these are the things I'm focused on right now."
Harris — California's first African-American senator and the first Indian-American in U.S. history to serve in Congress' upper chamber — continued, "I've seen so many people, Ellen, focus on that thing out there and then trip over this thing here. I don't want to trip. There's so much that's important right now."
Still, DeGeneres couldn't help but press Harris for more, asking if she had any ideas about who she'd pick as her vice president. "Got any plans?" Harris jokingly asked the talk-show host, who quipped back, "I'm busy."
While Harris refused to elaborate on a possible presidential campaign, she agreed to let DeGeneres "vet" her in case she decides to run. As DeGeneres pointed out, "It's going to come out, so you might as well tell it here."
In a series of lighthearted questions, Harris revealed her first celebrity crush, Tito Jackson, and her "awful" behavior as a teen: "I broke curfew [and] I was a loiterer!"
When DeGeneres asked her if she'd rather be stuck in an elevator with Trump, Mike Pence or Jeff Sessions, Harris responded with a laugh, saying, "Does one of us have to come out alive?"