Senator Kamala Harris announces US presidential run
Democrat Kamala Harris joins race to become first woman president of the United States
WASHINGTON: Senator Kamala Harris announced on Monday that she is seeking to become the first woman to hold the office of US president, joining an already crowded field of Democrats lining up to take on Mr Donald Trump.
"The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values. That's why I'm running for president of the United States," the senator from California said in a video posted on Twitter.
Ms Harris joins Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and former housing secretary Julian Castro, among others, either in the race or exploring a run for the 2020 Democratic nomination.
Nearly 22 months before the 2020 election, the battle for the White House is already firming up, as Americans begin to assess who might be the opposition party nominee to challenge Mr Trump for control of the White House.
Ms Harris made the announcement on the national holiday honouring civil rights movement icon Martin Luther King Jr., whom she said her mother had met.
"I'm honoured to be able to make my announcement on the day that we commemorate him," Ms Harris told ABC's Good Morning America.
"My parents were very active in the civil rights movement and that's the language that I grew up hearing. And it was about a belief that we are a country that was founded on noble ideals and we are the best of who we are when we fight to achieve those ideals," she said.
Ms Harris' calls for unity in her newly published memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,clearly set the tone for what her candidacy might mean in an America sorely divided by Mr Trump's unsettling presidency.
After two terms as district attorney of San Francisco (2004-2011), she was twice elected as attorney general of California (2011-2017), becoming the first woman and the first black person to serve as chief law enforcement officer of that populous state.
Then in January 2017, she took the oath of office as California's junior US senator, making her the first woman of South Asian descent (her mother is a Tamil Indian) and only the second black woman senator in American history, after Carol Moseley Braun.
Ms Harris often proudly recalls that as a prosecutor she fought big banks during the 2008 financial crisis.
She casts herself as a champion of middle class families "living pay cheque to pay cheque" and denounces police brutality and the killing of unarmed black men.
Ms Harris has also experienced discrimination.
"I have too many memories of my brilliant mother being treated as though she were dumb because of her accent," she wrote in her autobiography.
Asked about that, she shared some tough words about Mr Trump.
"There are powerful forces - including this president - that are attempting to vilify immigrants because they were born in another country," she said recently on CNN. - AFP