Wednesday’s vice presidential debate provides an opportunity for the American public to get answers from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).
The Democratic vice presidential nominee should be asked the following 25 questions. This list is by no means exhaustive.
Many of these questions were suggested by this author last month, but because they remain unanswered, I offer them again in the hope that the debate moderator will see fit to get answers from the California senator who, if elected, will be one heart beat away from the presidency.
1. After President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, many Democrats endorsed the idea of “packing” the Supreme Court by expanding the number of seats and filling them with liberal justices. You and Vice President Biden have refused to give your position on court-packing. Are you in favor of packing the court?
2. Do you believe Judge Barrett’s resume as a federal judge, former Supreme Court law clerk, and Notre Dame law professor qualifies her for the job? If not, why not? If so, how do you—as a feminist—justify your apparent ambivalence about even meeting with a qualified woman judicial nominee?
3. Judge Barrett has been attacked by members of your party because of her Catholic faith. This is of great concern to many millions of American Catholics because this appears to be a pattern with your party. In fact, you yourself once attacked a judicial nominee on the basis of his membership in the Catholic organization the Knights of Columbus, which is the largest fraternal organization in the world and includes among its past and present members many prominent Americans like President John F. Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA), and Vince Lombardi. Do you believe that being a member of the Knights of Columbus disqualifies a person from holding public office? Would you refuse to hire someone on the basis of their membership in the Knights of Columbus or any other Catholic organization? In your questioning of this Catholic judicial nominee, you singled out the issue of the Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life. Would you disqualify a job applicant on the basis of their Catholic beliefs, including their beliefs about abortion? Do you believe that being pro-life disqualifies someone from employment?
4. Your history of attacking a judicial nominee solely on the basis of his membership in a Catholic organization led former Speaker Newt Gingrich to describe you as an “openly anti-Catholic bigot.” Do you disavow this characterization?
5. Should American Catholics or Catholic organizations be forced to pay for other people’s abortions? If elected, would you seek to force Catholics to fund abortions and other practices that are fundamentally in violation of their faith?
6. You recently claimed that you chose to become a prosecutor because you wanted to protect victims of sexual abuse. However, during your 13-year tenure as San Francisco’s district attorney and then California’s attorney general, you refused to prosecute any of the sexual abuse claims brought against Catholic priests, despite the pleas from victim groups. Why?
7. Also, why did your attorney general’s office refuse to release the documents obtained from the San Francisco archdiocese with all the information about priests accused of sexual abuse? Victims’ rights groups have criticized your office for deliberately burying these documents and thereby covering up the crimes and leaving the public unprotected. Why did you do this? The San Francisco district attorney’s office claimed in 2019 that they no longer have these documents in their possession. What happened to them? How can you claim to be a defender of children when you declined to prosecute the abusers of children?
8. Last June, you encouraged your Twitter followers to donate to a bail fund to assist protesters arrested in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, riots. Are you aware that in July this bail fund sprang from jail a man who was accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl? In August, the fund posted bail for a man accused of assaulting a 71-year-old woman whose home he had burglarized. In June, the fund helped bail out a man accused of stomping and robbing a victim in Minneapolis on the same day George Floyd died. Between June and August, the fund helped bail out six men who were accused of domestic violence, including two who were accused of strangling women in their homes. Do you have any words for the victims of these crimes?
9. Why did your office decline to investigate the health supplement fraud cases involving companies your husband’s law firm represented? Did you, as California’s attorney general, ever purposefully decline investigating or prosecuting clients of your husband’s law firm?
10. You said you believed the women accusing Joe Biden of inappropriate touching. Do you believe Tara Reade? If not, why not? If so, how do you justify supporting him now?
11. Why did you single out journalist David Daleiden for prosecution for undercover journalism that others do without penalty?
12. Your chief-of-staff, Karine Jean-Pierre, wrote an op-ed last year attacking the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Americans who associate with it, stating “You cannot call yourself a progressive while continuing to associate yourself with an organization like AIPAC that has often been the antithesis of what it means to be progressive.” Do you believe that pro-Israel activism is incompatible with progressive values?
13. The Biden campaign has adopted a version of the Green New Deal that calls for 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2035. California has adopted similar “green” goals, but now it can’t keep the lights on due to the state’s reliance on wind and solar energy. California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newson recently admitted that the Golden State needs a “backup” plan for energy because the current blackouts caused by lack of wind and overcast skies have shown the danger of relying solely on “green” energy. Why would the nation fare any better than sunny breezy California in keeping the lights on if we adopt 100 percent renewable energy?
14. You said in the past that we “need to hold China accountable” for trade violations, but you are against the use of tariffs. How do you intend to hold China accountable? You also said that “we need to export American products, not American jobs.” How do you intend to make sure we don’t export more American jobs to China? How would your policy differ significantly from the same policies that led to the loss of 4 million jobs to China?
15. You have supported the often violent Black Lives Matter uprisings and encouraged them to continue. Have you spoken to any victims of the riots — people who lost loved ones or businesses?
16. Do you believe that the looting of the Magnificent Mile in Chicago was a “form of reparations,” as one Chicago Black Lives Matter organizer claimed? Is looting an appropriate form of protest as a means of reparations?
17. Seattle Black Lives Matter protesters stormed a neighborhood, demanding that residents “get the f*** out” and “give black people back their homes” as reparations. Do you support that style of protest? If not, have you condemned it?
18. You recently claimed that it is both “outdated” and “wrongheaded” to think that adding police officers to the streets is the only way to make communities safer. What do you propose we do to stop the current wave of violent crime engulfing our cities?
19. What is the maximum number of illegal immigrants you would allow into the country before securing the border to stop more from entering?
20. The Obama administration deported an estimated 3 million illegal aliens. Was that a bad thing?
21. With 30 million Americans unemployed due to the coronavirus, would you support a halt on work visas for foreign workers competing with Americans for jobs? If not, explain to us why CEOs will not use this huge increase in the supply of labor to freeze and reduce salaries for American workers?
22. A number of prominent tech industry leaders have endorsed your campaign citing your support for increasing the number of H-1B foreign workers. Why is importing more foreign workers to compete with Americans a good idea right now?
23. Wall Street has praised Vice President Biden’s decision to choose you as his running mate. Why do you think financial special interests support you so much?
24. Will you be following the advice of your Wall Street and Silicon Valley donors in negotiating with China? If not, whose advice would you seek out in negotiating with China?
25. You have called on Congress to act on a coronavirus stimulus package, but you skipped a vote on a Republican proposal that would have provided relief to Americans. Are you putting any pressure on members of your party to stop blocking relief legislation for Americans?
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