(Citizen Free Press) – On Wednesday, Kamala Harris became the 49th vice president of the United States, the first woman, the first black woman and the first person from South Asia to hold that position.
Since Harris announced his presidential candidacy in early 2019, he has met with rejection and reservations from progressives in the country due to his record of law enforcement. People on the right see it as on the left. Some on the left don’t see it as progressive enough. She is, on some levels, a work in progress and will certainly not live up to some people’s expectations. But as your biographer, I am here to tell you that Kamala Harris is much more than meets the eye.
When she became California’s attorney general in early 2011, Kamala Harris made it clear that she had big plans for her. Harris announced that former US Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and George Shultz would co-chair the team that would lead his transition to an office without a discernible foreign policy portfolio. It was too easy for me, then a political columnist for the Sacramento Bee, to be sarcastic. I wrote that Harris was aiming for a higher office or would have “the best foreign policy of any attorney general in the United States.”
He was right that Harris was a woman in a hurry. But what she didn’t know then, and what I’ve learned since writing her bio, is that she knew the virtue of staying out of the limelight and avoiding inopportune takeovers that could undermine her purpose.
Perhaps most importantly, I discovered that you are willing to take time out of your busy schedule to perform acts of empathy, even when you gain nothing from that act. While writing his biography, I found examples of his character and style abounded.
Focusing on those in need
In 2016, when Harris was running for Senate and Donald Trump was running for president, the so-called Trump University had become the focus of lawsuits from the New York attorney general and private attorneys representing students who claimed to have been victims. fraud.
Harris’s opponent, Loretta Sánchez, a fellow Democrat who was then a member of Congress, criticized Harris for not suing the Trump school, saying her reluctance could have been tied to $ 6,000 in campaign donations she received from Trump early in his tenure as a California prosecutor.
Perhaps Harris could have joined the New York attorney general’s lawsuit against Trump. He definitely would have scored points with California voters, given his low opinion of Trump.
But he refused to sue Trump University, and there were strong reasons for that decision. One of Harris’s former advisers as attorney general who participated in the decision-making told me that relatively few Californians were victims of the Trump University scam. People who fell in love with Trump’s bragging ran out of money but were not destitute. And the resources are finite.Instead, under Harris, the state sued Corinthian Colleges, Inc., a California-based corporation that affected many more people in the state. In its lawsuit, the state alleged that Corinthian, which operates under various names, advertised heavily on daytime television, targeting people who had “low self-esteem.” The state alleged that many Corinthian students received low-value degrees and were left with huge student loan debt. The state ultimately won a $ 1.1 billion judgment against the company and lobbied for the debt accumulated by Corinthian students to be forgiven. Instead of the headlines that a Trump lawsuit would have given him, he focused on the mass of California students in need.
Leading with humanity
Harris can be tough on her staff and tough when, as a US senator, she questioned Trump administration officials and nominees. But what I also discovered is that when there were no cameras, it showed a more human side.
Matthew Davis, a friend from law school, recalled calling Harris, then a San Francisco district attorney, to encourage her to write a note to an elderly woman, Naomi Gray, who was nearing the end of her life. in a nursing home. Gray had supported Harris and was delighted that she had won the seat. Harris had a better idea. He stopped what he was doing, went to the nursing home and spent 20 minutes holding the woman’s hand and comforting her. The woman died a few days later.
I found many other examples like that, including the moment, days before the 2018 by-elections, when Harris learned that one of his advisers, Tyrone Gayle, was about to die from colon cancer. He put his political duties on hold and took a flight from Washington to New York, so he could hold his hand one last time.
Vice President Harris has a track record of winning, being strategic, and watching for the award. Perhaps most important of all, he has a heart. She shares that attribute with President Biden. For the nation to rebound from the division of the past four years and the weeks since November 3, having a vice president who combines toughness and determination with empathy should give us cause for hope.
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