Kamala Harris Talks Impeachment at Iowa Town Hall

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks in North Charleston, South Carolina. on Saturday ahead of a three-day campaign trip to Iowa. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

ANKENY, Iowa – On the second day of a campaign trip to Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris said Monday that President Donald Trump should be impeached.

“We have a crook in the White House who deserves to be impeached,” the U.S. Senator from California told a crowd of about 300 who turned out on a crisp fall evening for a town hall meeting in a park shelter in a suburb north of Des Moines.

“Dude’s gotta go,” has been her oft-repeated punchline to the case that Trump should be removed from office by the voters, but she has been asked in recent days about the impeachment inquiry in the U.S. House of Representatives.

To that, she says: “Donald Trump is a walking indictment in a red tie.”

Harris suggested that what’s happening in Congress today was envisioned by the Founders.

“The Founders and the framers of the Constitution, in their brilliance, imagined this moment, when there would be an abuse of power in one of our branches of government,” she said, adding that they created checks and balances between the three branches to confront such abuses.

Harris’s three-day campaign trip to Iowa is part of her effort to break out of the pack of Democratic presidential contenders crisscrossing the state ahead of next February’s Iowa lead-off caucuses. 

Harris has beefed-up her campaign in the state in recent weeks, doubling the size of her Iowa staff and making appearances at events ranging from the Polk County Steak Fry, which drew 12,000 people, to intimate gatherings in Iowans’ living rooms.

She has some work to do, according to the latest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll released Sept. 21, in which 6 percent of Iowans likely to attend their caucus in February said Harris was their number one pick. 

She ranked fifth – behind Elizabeth Warren (22%), Joe Biden (20%), Bernie Sanders (11%) and Pete Buttigieg (9%).

At the town hall Monday, Harris departed from her stump speech to address what she called the elephant in the room – what she calls “the donkey in the room” – that has emerged recently: electability.

“People are asking, are Americans ready for this – a woman of color in the White House,” said Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica. 

“It’s not a new conversation for me,” she said, adding that it has come up in every election she has run in – for San Francisco district attorney, for California attorney general and for the U.S. Senate – each of which she won.

While Harris was the main attraction Monday night, she was briefly upstaged by Martha Willard, a 10-year-old fifth-grader who had a chance to ask the senator a question during the Q and A portion.

“My name is Martha,” the youngster told Harris. “I go to that school right there,” she said, pointing to an elementary school near the shelter. She wanted to know what Harris would do to “lessen our dependence on coal and foreign oil.”

After explaining her plan for a Green New Deal and a clean economy by investing in renewable energy and electric vehicles, Harris asked Martha if she had any more questions. 

She did: “Some people have jobs driving trucks with coal in them. Will you have jobs for them?” she wondered.

Harris had to wait for the applause and laughter from the crowd to die down before tackling that question with her plan to provide new jobs for people displaced by the transition to a green economy by 2030.

But, she added, Martha would be of college age by the time that happens.

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