(CNN) – Kamala Harris announced Monday that she is running for president in 2020, arguing that the time has come to fight against what she views as the injustices of the past two years of the Trump presidency.
In a brief video from her campaign that was released on social media Monday morning at the same time she appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Harris called on her supporters to join with her to “claim our future.”
“Justice. Decency. Equality. Freedom. Democracy. These aren’t just words. They’re the values we as Americans cherish. And they’re all on the line now,” Harris said in the video, teasing her official kickoff in her birthplace of Oakland next Sunday.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 21, 2019
“The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values,” the Democratic California senator said. “That’s why I’m running for president of the United States. “I’m running to lift those voices, to bring our voices together.”
Harris is the first African-American woman to announce a run for the White House in 2020, and the third woman in the field. Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have both announced exploratory committees, a step that Harris is skipping.
In a 2020 field that could include as many as four women, her allies believe that her life’s work as a prosecutor — from her start in Alameda County trying grisly crimes such as sexual assault to felonies including homicide — will help set her apart. The style developed over those years helped her build a national following when she grilled President Donald Trump’s nominees, including Brett Kavanaugh when he was a Supreme Court nominee.
Her book tour earlier this month served as a soft launch for her presidential bid, showcasing her strong appeal among women, minorities and millennials — as well as the criticism she will face over aspects of her long and complex record as a prosecutor, district attorney of San Francisco and attorney general of California.
She sought to use the anecdotes in the new book to demonstrate her toughness, including how she took on the big banks as California’s attorney general after the foreclosure crisis and held out for a $20 billion settlement for California homeowners. The clear subtext throughout her appearances was that she would not be bullied by anyone, including Trump.
While avoiding directly engaging Trump, Harris has accused the President of stoking racist and xenophobic rhetoric, while aligning his administration with white supremacists at home, and cozying up to dictators abroad.
She has argued that the needs of the middle class have been ignored, citing the federal shutdown over the President’s “vanity project” — a border wall — as the latest example.
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