The Rev. Al Sharpton is going to bat for Vice President Kamala Harris, the nation’s first woman of color in the White House, amid criticism of her job performance, saying he’ll press President Joe Biden to “give her more positions of power.”
In an interview with The Root, the MSNBC host and civil rights advocate was grilled about disapproval of Harris’ achievements as point person on immigration issues — including from CNN political analyst and author Bakari Sellers, who called her portfolio “trash.”
“I want to see her be used more effectively, and I think her being in charge of voting was important, but I question her other assignments,” Sharpton said.
“You might remember, when Joe Biden said that he was going to appoint a woman to run with him and appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court, I challenged him and said, ‘Why don’t you have a Black woman run like Stacey [Abrams] or Kamala?’ and I had him on my MSNBC show and confronted him.
“So in many ways, we were the ones who stood up for her to be in that position and we want her to have a strong position, not marginal positions. I think that he did the right thing giving her voting, but I think he should continue to give her more positions of power.”
Sharpton told The Root he already knows the wish-list he’ll present to Biden for Harris’ future responsibilities.
“I would like the president to put her in charge of the voting package and criminal justice,” he told the outlet.
“Also, he needs to put Kamala at the forefront of the George Floyd bill that he promised to get through. She was a prosecutor and a state attorney general, so she knows the criminal justice system and understands both sides. She is also a Black woman in the time of Breonna Taylor and other Black women who have suffered racism, so I think that she should have those assignments and be able to get certain things to Congress.”
Sharpton vowed his New York City-based National Action Network — where Harris will deliver an address at its 30th anniversary — “will continue to fight for her to be in a position of power because we want to see her thrive.”
“I will communicate that to the President,” he said. “It would be unwise for me to have her at my event and use that as a platform to raise the issue, so instead, I will speak directly to the President.”
Sharpton said he expects to have a face-to-face “within the next 30 days.”
“We have reached out to him and said we want to meet. We have had two meetings with him, and we intend to meet with him before mid-November,” he added.