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Kamala Harris links Trump rhetoric to California synagogue shooting

Kamala Harris links Trump rhetoric to California synagogue shooting

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., drew a direct link on Sunday between the deadly attack on a California synagogue and President Trump’s divisive rhetoric.
“I believe this is a moment in time where leaders must speak truth,” the presidential candidate told about 700 Democrats gathered for the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party’s annual dinner.
“My home state of California just on Saturday made clear what was clear in Charlottesville, and what was clear at the Tree of Life synagogue. Let’s speak truth: racism, anti-semitism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia are real in this country,” she said, diverting from her usual stump speech script. “Let us speak that truth and let us speak it in a way where we all agree that these are borne out of hate, hate which has received new fuel in these last two years. Let us all agree that whenever and wherever we see those expressions of hate, we must all stand up and speak out. Let us agree that anyone who has ever been subject of that hate should never be permitted to fight alone.”
A shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego, Calif., on Saturday left one person dead: Lori Gilbert Kaye, 60, was shot and killed as she protected Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 57, according to authorities. Three others were injured. The 19-year-old shooting suspect has been taken into custody by police. The attack followed 11 people dying and another seven wounded last November during the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Pa.
In her speech Sunday, Harris also referenced the death of Heather Heyer, 32, who was killed in 2017 when a white nationalist sympathizer drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters during the unrest in Charlottesville, Va.
Trump has faced backlash for saying there were “very fine people on both sides” of the Charlottesville clashes. After 50 people got killed in the shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, the president received further condemnation for refusing to acknowledge that white nationalism presented a growing threat. The White House has stood by Trump’s comments and the president himself last week tried to clarify his remarks regarding Charlottesville, arguing that he didn’t mean white supremacists were fine people; but rather was alluding to those who were there simply to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Harris, a former California attorney general, touched on her education and gun control platforms. She additionally argued the country “can no longer afford” Trump as a commander in chief, citing his administration’s handling of Otto Warmbier’s repatriation from North Korea. The Washington Post reported last week that in 2017 the U.S. was billed $2 million for the 21-year-old’s medical expenses, which critics say has the appearance of a ransom payment. The costs were never reimbursed and Warmbier died shortly after he was returned in a comatose state.
Harris, who attended a closed-press meet-and-greet with voters and donors during her short trip to Ohio, is not the first 2020 Democrat to bring their campaign to the Buckeye State, following in the footsteps of former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Ohio is important on the national political stage given the 153 delegates and 11 alternates it serves up to a successful candidate in its primary contest, held the week after Super Tuesday. A Democratic win in the Republican-leaning state during the general election would also help deny Trump a second-term in the White House.