Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris’ campaign stunt backfired on Sunday night after former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker asked her a simple question.
Walker asked if Harris would take time to visit the two severely wounded police officers shot in an apparent ambush in California, her home state, like she visited Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
Blake was shot in the back by police officers seven times on Aug. 23, and the incident sparked protests and riots across the country.
Outcry over the violent incident led Harris to plan a campaign trip to visit Blake.
On Sunday, Harris condemned the apparent cold-blooded shooting of the two police officers in her home state on social media.
Doug and I are keeping the two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies in our hearts as they currently fight for their lives after a horrific attack last night. The perpetrator must be brought to justice. https://t.co/ckuRllMtzv
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 13, 2020
Walker asked if the vice presidential candidate planned to visit those police officers, like she’d done with Blake.
Will @kamalaharris visit deputies who were shot (31-year-old mom & 24 year-old) in her state? She visited someone in WI who was charged with felony 3rd-degree sexual assault and said she was proud of him.
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) September 13, 2020
Harris worked previously as the San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general and has struggled to balance her relationship with both police and far-left progressives.
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Three months after Harris took office in San Francisco in 2003, a young city police officer was shot and killed. Harris quickly said she wouldn’t seek the death penalty for his killer, instead opting for life without parole. Her move surprised and angered police.
“This was a symbolic thing to them of respect,” said Debbie Mesloh, Harris’ then-communications director. While Harris made it her top priority to win a conviction for the officer’s killer, her relationship with police was “really challenged for a long time.”
Harris struggled to navigate her complicated relationship with police when she sought the Democratic presidential nomination last year. Law enforcement leaders never fully embraced her. The far-left viewed her warily.
In the month since she was nominated for vice president, Harris has largely focused on the police reforms she and Biden would implement if elected and spoken in personal terms about nationwide protests against police.
“We need to have serious police reform,” Harris said at a recent fundraiser. “Joe and I are very clear about this.”
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Neither Harris nor Biden actively support “defunding” the police, but Harris says the country needs to “reimagine” what policing and community safety look like
Her perspective is shaped by her experience in California, where she faced competing interests.
Harris’ rocky start in San Francisco was still on officers’ minds when she ran for state attorney general in 2010, and the largest law enforcement organization in the state representing rank-and-file officers backed her Republican opponent. But when Harris eked out a victory, she immediately reached out and began a listening tour with officers across the state.
Four years later, the officers’ group backed her for reelection and also supported her 2016 race for U.S. Senate.
Still, Harris’ relationship with the Peace Officers Research Association of California remains strained.
The group’s current president, Brian Marvel, said Harris seems less interested today in getting police input than she once was because of a national conversation that “police unions are bad.” His group met with California Rep. Karen Bass, a House sponsor of the police reform bill; they didn’t get time with Harris, he said. Her staff met with Marvel’s group and reform advocates, a Senate spokesperson said.
“She doesn’t want to have that conversation with us for fear of the folks on the far-left who will see that as caving into the police unions,” Marvel said. “In reality, what it is is she’s getting advice from people who are dealing with this day in and day out.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article