During last Thursday’s televised Democratic debate, the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., shared—then deleted—a tweet saying Sen. Kamala Harris wasn’t black enough to understand the problems faced by black Americans, provoking a fierce, unified backlash from Harris’s fellow presidential candidates.
“Kamala Harris is implying she is descended from American Black Slaves,” alt-wing identity Ali Alexander tweeted. “She’s not. She comes from Jamaican Slave Owners. That’s fine. She’s not an American Black. Period.”
“Is this true? Wow,” Trump Jr responded, as he amplified the tweet to his millions of followers. Harris’s mother was from India and her father is Jamaican.
On Sunday’s State of the Union on CNN, presidential hopeful Julián Castro stepped up the condemnation of Harris by calling Trump Jr.’s tweet “disgusting” and labeling him a “coward.”
“He’s giving voice to these racist utterances about Senator Harris,” Castro said. “We need to dispel them immediately, and condemn them, and then not give them any more life because they are disgusting.”
Castro also tweeted Sunday morning that Trump’s retweet could be linked to “a right-wing effort to delegitimize an accomplished and powerful black woman.”
These disgusting and racist attacks are part of a right-wing effort to delegitimize an accomplished and powerful black woman.
Senator Harris has lived an American dream story, and we shouldn’t give voice to those attempting to undermine it. https://t.co/tZssl0zvnf
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) June 30, 2019
Castro’s comments added to a wave of criticism from Harris’s Democratic opponents. “We all have an obligation to speak out and say so,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tweeted last week. “And it’s within the power and obligation of tech companies to stop these vile lies dead in their tracks.”
The attacks against @KamalaHarris are racist and ugly. We all have an obligation to speak out and say so. And it’s within the power and obligation of tech companies to stop these vile lies dead in their tracks.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 29, 2019
Kamala Harris “doesn’t have shit to prove,” tweeted Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).
.@KamalaHarris doesn’t have shit to prove. https://t.co/OQm8wVub7W
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) June 29, 2019
Correction: This article has been updated to fix an editing error that referred to Castro as a “former” presidential hopeful.