California Sen. Kamala Harris announced Monday that she will run for president in 2020, joining a crowded field of Democrats seeking to challenge President Donald Trump.
Harris’ announcement, made on “Good Morning America,” comes following months of speculation surrounding the Democrat, a rising star in the party who was elected California’s junior senator in 2016 after two terms as the state’s attorney general.
“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.
Harris joins a robust field of Democrats and becomes the fourth woman to announce her intentions after Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand have formed explatory committees and, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii announced her Presidential bid last week.
Harris’ campaign will be headquartered in Baltimore — giving staffers a base on the East Coast in a racially diverse city that is struggling with wide income disparities — and Oakland, where Harris was born to immigrant parents who came to the US to advance their academic careers.
Harris chose to announce on Monday to honor the legacies of two of her heroes.
Forty-seven years ago this week, Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman ever to run for president, launched her campaign. And Martin Luther King Jr. has been a role model for Harris throughout her life in what she views as his “aspirational fight for progress.”
“The thing about Dr. King that always inspires me is that he was aspirational. He was aspirational like our country is aspirational. We know that we’ve not yet reached those ideals. But our strength is that we fight to reach those ideals,” the senator said. “So today, the day we celebrate Dr. King, is a very special day for all of us as Americans and I’m honored to be able to make my announcement on the day we commemorate him.”
During her appearance on “Good Morning America”, Harris explained her belief that the American people were looking for a commander in chief with “leadership skills, experience and integrity,” who will “fight on their behalf.”
“On all of those points, I feel very confident about my ability to lead,” she said. “I feel very confident about my ability to listen and to work on behalf of the American public. The American public wants a fighter, and they want someone that is going to fight like heck for them and not fight based on self-interests. I’m prepared to do that.”