GOP says Kamala Harris is too tough and too weak on crime

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It's the same paradoxical attack they have used against Joe Biden.

After Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) would be his running mate, Republicans launched two contradictory attacks on her supposed record on crime.

Harris was attacked both as an overzealous former prosecutor and as an anti-police radical who would let crime run rampant.

In its initial response to her selection on Tuesday, a Trump campaign spokesperson claimed Harris would hide her record as San Francisco's district attorney and California attorney general to join the ticket: "Clearly Phony Kamala will abandon her own morals, as well as try to bury her record as a prosecutor, in order to appease the anti-police extremists controlling the Democrat Party."

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"Remember when @TulsiGabbard reminded Kamala Harris of her terrible record of locking up thousands of young minorities, or being an overzealous drug warrior and of her record as a harsh prosecutor?" Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) asked in a tweet. "I do."

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani retweeted a quote from a National Review story on Harris Wednesday morning: "American prosecutors wield awesome and terrible powers that lend themselves easily to abuse, and Senator Kamala Harris, formerly the attorney general of California, is an enthusiastic abuser of them."

But the Trump campaign's initial statement also contradicted this framing, arguing that, with Harris on the ticket, Biden is "surrendering control of our nation to the radical mob" with, among other things, promises to "cut police funding."

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) wrote on Tuesday: "Kamala Harris is marching on the streets with 'trained marxists.' She has and will kowtow to the rage mob."

Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) tweeted that Harris' selection shows that "the Democratic party has fully embraced the far left and their radical governing agenda" including "Defunding the police."

Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) tweeted that Democrats had "a radical left ticket of liberal anarchy, defunding police, and government-run healthcare from Joe Biden & Kamala Harris."

Neither Biden nor Harris has backed defunding law enforcement, though both have embraced police reform.

On Wednesday morning, the Trump campaign released an ad saying that Harris would "give cop killers a pass" and "confiscate your guns by force," claims that were fact-checked and proven false over a year ago.

Harris' lengthy career as a prosecutor prior to her election to the U.S. Senate in November 2016 was much scrutinized during her 2020 presidential campaign. While some progressives criticized her aggressive record as a "top cop" and her failure to intervene in cases of police shootings, she presented herself as a "progressive prosecutor" who used the power of her positions to protect the public.

The attacks on Harris mirror a Trump campaign strategy against Biden.

The Trump campaign has run false ads claiming that Biden stands with a "radical left-wing mob" that wants to "defund the police," as well as commercials accusing him of destroying "millions of Black lives" with his drafting of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.