Full Kamala Harris Interview: On the bus in Sioux City, Iowa
Hello from washington chuck todd here meet. The press went to sioux city iowa this week for an exclusive interview with california senator kamala harris. I had a long conversation with her on her campaign. Buses awesome kicked off a five-day tour of isla. Obviously we couldn't fit the entire conversation on our television broadcasts but we wanna make sure you had a chance to hear the full on edited edited interview including a couple of extra moments outside of her bus so that's what you're about to hear. I hope you enjoy and of course check your feet for the full episode. Meet the press putting putting my exclusive interview with acting secretary of homeland security heaven nakhalin senator harris. Thanks for inviting us on your bus key. Welcome welcome to welcome to the the for the people but for the people but <hes> over the last few days. There's been an escalation in how to describe the president among many if you were opponents label him whether label racist white nationalist white supremacist does that matter labeling matter. I think it overlooks <hes> the fact of the truth about the history of our country where we are. Which is you know we. We have to speak truth. Racism is real all in this country it was before he was elected. It will be after anti-semitism homophobia transphobia islamaphobia. These issues are real in our country and we have to to speak truth about it and certainly we must point out and and never condone anyone who uses their power in a way that fans it but the reality is that these are forms of hate that are not new to our country which have in the history of our country taken lethal proportion and still today take on lethal proportion and so i believe that the conversation has to be about how we are going to speak truth about the history and then address it and you know when and i look at what's happening now chuck just most recently the announcement of the rates for months ago much less what happened in el paso to the most recent raise were hundreds of people were were picked up many were released because they probably shouldn't have been picked up in the first place. People are afraid in our country. You think hispanics feel targeted targeted right now i do know paso and this ice raid that took place in mississippi and and this president's rhetoric which has been can you say eight. Can you say anything at this point to reach panic americans. I don't think it would be authentic if he did and i think people are smart enough to know that you know there's an old saying judge me by my actions. It's not my words and his actions have been to divide to to to vilify to to do what is contrary who we are as americans which is to say it's us versus them as opposed to a president who uses the power of that microphone in a way that is about unifying a unifying in lifting up as opposed to beating down. That's what this president does. He beats people down and i will tell you this a sign of a coward what do you how do you strike that balance of hitting him but still trying to win over some of his supporters ultimately. I know in gen an election. You do want to win over some of his supporters. Why do you think they picked every american. They picked him the first used. You used the phrase before the sixteen campaign but it was in october. You're saying you know this. We're gonna look at ourselves in the mirror well. They questioned what happened. I said then and i say today but what this there's an inflection moment in the history of our country. This is a moment in time where each of us must look in the mirror and collectively. We must look in the mirror and ask this question. Who are we and i think i think part of the answer to that question is we are better than this. What did we say in sixteen were but here's the thing there are people who voted for him for a variety of reasons and in a lot of it has to do with the promises he made which he has not delivered on because they were false promises and he betrayed a lot of people he came in saying he was going to help working families. Everyone from farmers armed to autoworkers. We're here in iowa their farmers a lot of farmers were looking at bankruptcy because of his so-called trade policy that was trade policy by i tweet motivated by a fragile ego that was unilateral action that has resulted in farmers in iowa looking at bankruptcy because they've got soybeans rotting in <unk> bins why because they cultivated a market over at least the last ten years in china and that's been cut off for them auto workers hundreds of thousands were told we are looking at the potential of no job by the end of the year he betrayed people in the american people are smarter then to go for all of the flash that he tweets tweets all the time and and look at the fact that not only on trade policy but this tax bill that benefits the top one percent and the biggest corporations of america that this sky but he betrayed them and i know that the american people are smarter than to go for the oak you brought up the rates in and south mississippi believe it or not law enforcement told are told our news told us that they had to be intentionally vague about the companies that were quote rated did explain to me your your your prosecutor. Why why why was the workers targeted and not the company's why why did the five companies get to stay. I is there. Why are there. Why do they have a privacy protection here. Is there something in the law that i'm missing. No and i don't know so why they did what they did. I don't know why they decided to do it right. After paso and small community committed the wrong companies correct if they hired people that weren't citizens. They're the ones in the wrong right. I mean yes of course of course the employers have to be responsible and they have to do whatever is required by law aw <hes> but but there's another point here chuck which is that this administration has directed d._h._s. To to conduct these rates as part part of what i believe is this administration's campaign of terror which is to make holes that whole populations of people afraid to go to work. Children are afraid to go to school for fear that when they come home their parents won't be their parents are afraid to send their children to the pediatrician for fear that that will be contact with others others there. Are we have the census coming up. Okay the twenty twenty cents. This is coming up. We do the census every ten years in america and which is that we count who's here here so and we make decisions about everything from electoral lines to where we're going to put resources so we have a lot of blended families in america which is household of multigenerational multigenerational households including people are documented and undocumented census taker comes knocking at that door. They're not going to answer the door and i know this administration. Administration knows that that's what this is really about it. I think that's part of it as a consequence without any question so we should understand and the american people should understand this is bigger and broader than just these families that are being targeted and attacked whether it be by child separation policy that is immoral whether it'd be about putting babies in cages and for profit prisons and detention centres which should be shut down or whether it be about the census which we will all live with for at least the next decade and the next generation and and i have to finish this plane we conduct a census as part of an extension of who we are ars it democracy we say every person matters we count we we we make decisions based on who's here and what they need and you and i will both suffer if that census count is flawed and i'm telling you the given the policies of this administration that is going to be a flawed census. You have spoken about racism national security. Issue your took you. You've spent time in the intel committee. You've been involved in the russia investigation and you. You've said that russia targeting us on race proves that are racial strife national security issue. How do you get the public to see it that way. Okay so russia interfered in the election of president united states regardless of what donald trump says listen to the intelligence community they tell you that that is true because it is is true okay so that's the fact label russia's state sponsor of terrorism. I think that is a debatable point but say they're an average. There's no question and they've committed human rights abuse. There's no question they are an adversary. There's no question that they have attacked america's democracy. I mean ukraine crimea. We look across the word of course but here's the thing we also have to on this election. Issue understand that this long standing adversary decided that they wanted to attack back as they wanted to attack us where we are strong and one of them almost intangible strengths of america is that we can hold ourselves out out as they democracy imperfect knowing may be flawed though we may be and it's an intangible strength it gives us the authority to walk in rooms and actually talk about human rights talk about civil rights talk about concepts of freedom right so they decide. Let's get them. Let's attack that so they decide decide to attack. What is the strongest pillar of democracy which is free and open elections so let's get americans going at each other. What's going to get heat. What's coming the way to do it and they tried out a bunch of different things and you know what caught heat the issue of race so russia exposed america's achilles heel and all of a sudden and guess what for those who want to marginalize the the conversation about race and racial equity and say oh well that's identity politics or that's this or that set guess what now it is also a national security issue and we need to deal with it and we need to deal with it being on the committee. What is the hot spot that you have learned about now that we're not paying enough attention to what's what what is something. You're picking up intel committee. You realize boy. If i'm president that's going to be everything that you know about. It's everything from cybersecurity which includes listen the <hes> previously jay johnson. The previous head of the department of homeland security designated out elections infrastructure is critical infrastructure of the united states as critical as our electrical chuckle grids is critical as our financial right and it has been attacked so that's one of the greatest threats to us <hes> but cybersecurity broadly speaking speaking. I've been working on this since i was attorney. General california where i led the second largest department of justice in the united states we have got to do a better job of securing our infrastructure as as it relates to our power grids as it relates to our what is going on in terms of medical systems what is going on in terms of our financial systems. We're very vulnerable to cyber threats. Let's should we be on the offense ever meaning. We're vulnerable to some threats but we open this pandora's box. We use cyber. Perhaps i know you can't confirmed. Nobody can confirm to mess with around nuclear capabilities. We've been on the offense on cyber. Did we open up pandora's box. You're going to keep us on offense on cyber. I'm i i do believe we need a cyber doctrine. I do believe that we need to have an understanding and agreement about what kinds of actions that are target that at target our country will require a response of of what order i do believe that the russian response whatever response we've done is not been a deterrent to them yet. What do you think would. I think that we have to <hes> bring the intelligence community together with the united states congress with the white house and first of all do with this white house has failed to do which is acknowledged the seriousness of the issue and then make awesome decisions about what our response will be. It's possible that sanctions alone haven't done it. Listen we have a whole for lack of a better term. Arsenal right and sanctions is one of them right in terms of wh- carrots and sticks that we have and and we should and we should have a very focused conversation about what will be most effective in which scenario and that's why. I say we should have a cyber doctor. Let's talk talk about healthcare. There is some confusion about where you are in healthcare. Whether it's a lot of it has to do with the sloganeering right you have medicare for all over here. You have enhanced mccain over there but let me ask you this. You wanna doing new system it over ten year period. There's a lot of people who said we're in the middle of still in trying to build the last system. The last system hasn't been fully implemented. Medicaid is not fifty states. Why do a new system before you find out if this one does this one won't work so let me start by saying. I was very proud as attorney general california to be among the leaders who defended the affordable care act what president obama accomplished pushed was historic many presidents before him attempted to reform america's healthcare system and failed. He accomplished it with the affordable care act. He has also. Oh said he is used a term starter house that it was a good beginning okay. We need to build on it. Why because currently there are thirty million americans concerned with healthcare building on buying a new house and i say this if we're going to use the house analogy i guess the question is is your plan as your family grows you probably the bigger uh-huh and that's the question and but you see that you're doing a transit. It's been hard enough to implement obamacare. People in the house are out on the porch arch and in the rain and in the snow we bring them in we could beat this metaphor too though there's no doubt one could argue that the problem with healthcare system and it's only been in addition on a single oh house that we haven't tried to build a new infrastructure that says we live in earthquake territory going off the rails here. Senator cottage decades someplace so okay so here's the point here's the point thirty million americans without healthcare right now we got to get them covered and standing branding medicaid would take care of half of them wouldn't it but medicare for all means that everyone is covered half of thirty million fifteen million. That's still fifteen million too many people all without coverage. But how do we know this. Won't i guess my question is. There's been a theory that if you expanded medicaid that eventually we'll get everybody eventually. The system is going to get everybody covered. Why not see if that's going to work. I before scrapping the system again and heavy is about expanding medicare which works expanding ending also the coverage that include dental includes vision includes hearing aids which is with the hearing aids are so expensive for seniors. It is about expanding the my my plan is also about saying hey for people who want a private plan as opposed to the public plant public plan. You get that option as i'm traveling our country. What does that mean if they liked their plan and right now but we go to this issue of the debate in your plan employers are no longer going to be the place you get insurance correct right and you and you but here's why why why should you have to stay a job. You don't like because your employer is sponsoring healthcare. The obamacare exchange ideas you chuck there was a time where people come out of high school or college. They go and work at one place until they retired that is no longer the case in america with with certain certain people in their twenties and thirties. They're moving jobs. Every two years and people should not have to feel that they can't leave a job because they'll lose their health. Care are under my plan. Private insurers can submit. They have to be certified by my plan. They have to get we're not gonna take anymore co pays and deductibles but if they conform play bar rules than a private plan will be available to you where every work so you don't have to feel wed to that job or to to keep your the health insurance which is the case for so many americans. The other piece of this is it is about getting rid of private insurance. The way that private insurance currently works wchs which is those co pays deductibles. It is about requiring the private insurance to play by our rules because they have been jacking up the cost all private insurance becomes medicare advantage essentially essentially in years using language people familiar today that it would be a form of medicare advantage over and above basic medicare it would be a private medicare plan but you would not if you like your employer based plan right now that plan you might find a similar one but you're not going to keep that one but if that if if your employer's not providing health care for you it's aetna so of aetna wants to compete and come up with the best plan they'll get certified and you can go to aetna if that's if the best one right so it but it is it it is addressing something part of part of what i believe is the problem with where we are now as a country is we have not by policy truly adapted to the way people really live and we have to do that so one. My healthcare policy is about saying everyone should be covered and frankly any democrat who's running in twenty nineteen. Who doesn't i have a policy to cover. Everyone has got to go back to the kitchen and figure out what they're really doing right but the other piece of it is that we have to adapt to the american workforce right now. People are not coming out of high school and working in the same place forever right now over the next fifteen years is expected that as many as forty forty percent of the jobs that currently exist will no longer exists as people are making those transitions. I don't want that. They're gonna lose their healthcare because it is. It is stuck to their implorer so i'm i'm. I'm detaching it from the employer. Speaking of adapting republic may still control the senate. If you're president united states how you get that healthcare plan through i mean do you have to say okay. We'll keep obama. Karen expand that. I mean is that do you do you retain that flexibility in your mind. Here's here's the thing chuck i arrived in the united states senate in <hes> in january twenty th seventeen and there was a full on attack that had been building for years to get rid of the affordable care act and there was an attempt sometimes successful to make it a partisan issue democrats. Let's want the affordable care. Act republicans wanna get rid of it and then the republicans named it obamacare thinking that would create some controversy and then at when when i joined the united states senate and i watch these debates and i fought against any any attempt to get rid of it why because preexisting conditions should not be the barrier to getting access to healthcare because our kids should be able to be on our plan until they turned twenty seven right but here's what i witnessed to your point i witnessed town halls malls around the country in so called red states and so called red districts were people showed up at those town halls and said to their elected representatives. Do not take away my healthcare and i will never forget. I was on the senate floor at that early morning our when the late great john mccain a republican said no you don't don't this cannot be a partisan issue. The health and wellbeing of the american people should not be a partisan issue because those folks by the way when when when we're when anyone is sitting in the emergency room with their child could care less about the party with which are registered to vote. I totally get that. I'm just talking about the reality of what you can get through. What what i really think you can get a new healthcare plan through. You just described how difficult it was to keep obamacare. I'm just being one of the big raise you've been. You've you've been wanting to be a realistic you've a._m. And too many places in addition to the moral aspect of this which i do strongly believe have healthcare should be a right and not just a privilege of those who can afford it okay. There is also the issue of cost it is right now causing three trillion dollars colors and in in over the next ten years. It's going to cost six trillion dollars. We cannot afford to do nothing we literally cannot afford to do nothing on top of this tax break that gave the top one percent and the biggest corporations where there's going to be a one point five trillion dollar addition to our deficit. We cannot afford to do nothing nothing so on this issue not only is it morally right not only are there thirty million people who don't have coverage it is also extremely expensive because you you know what let me just tell you something. We've currently got medicare for all you know where that's taking place in the emergency room and it's really expensive so even if you don't care about the moral issue even if you don't care about a parent who's sitting at the emergency room afraid that if they get treatment they're gonna have to pay five thousand dollars deductible tom. If you care about your pocketbook and your wallet this is an issue that you're going to care about senator harrison getting the rap sign so now you gotta you gotta love. I'm really excited. Thank you. Thank you doc. I know you've miscued labels progressive moderate centrist all this business however it does feel like we're living in a time of pick aside. They were not allowed to have new ones anymore. Everything's black and white every there's no more gray area. How do you pitch to people that gray. Area is is okay too. Who seems like that. If i were to say you have one challenged. It's pitching this idea that hey having a bridge. Between two wings of the party isn't a bad thing. I do you make that pitch. I think you make the the pitch based on <hes>. You know i do it based on what i call by. You know my agenda. Which is the three a._m. Agenda which is about really dealing with the things that wake people up in the middle of the night and <hes> you know. I intend to be a problem solving president. I think that's what people want. They want that. We are focused focused on the things that wake them up in the middle of the night the things that are weighing on them that they're trying to figure out because there are a lot of issues that we need to address through that lens and you know l. My my whole desire goal in life has been trying to. I want to be relevant in the lives of people right and there are a lot of problems that we need to fix san san francisco democrat and that's what they're going to call you out here in michigan and wisconsin and pennsylvania because republicans have been using that label a long time <hes>. Do you feel like kept overcome that label. What does that mean to you when you hear it. Hey i don't buy labels i if i bought labels i would never run for office in the first place <hes> <hes> i think that also most voters are <hes> are thoughtful enough to know that things aren't that simplistic <hes> and what they really want to know is what what motivates you about. The socialist brand sitting out there in some parts of the of the coalition. I don't think people have time for that. I honestly don't think it's something that is it's just it you know this this ideological approach to all his people don't want they want to know what you can actually do like literally. What are you going to do for me. When i wake up at three o'clock in the morning running and i'm worried about how many get through the end of the month which is why i have a proposal which the economist economist said we'll be the most significant tax cut for middle class families and generations which is focused on giving families families that make under one hundred thousand dollars tax credit of up to six thousand dollars. They can collect that five hundred dollars a month. What am i focused on teacher. Pay why because i am meeting more teachers interest working two and three jobs ninety four percent of our teachers come out of their own pocket to pay for school supplies. Let's get some basic stuff done by the way you have said you want to pay for all your stuff you pay for it by repealing that tax the tax i get that i i remember a lot of promises in two thousand eight feel. The bush tax cuts. Tax cuts didn't get fully repeal. Would you rather expand the deficit to enact your program or just find a way to pay for it before your neck. Let me tell you what i want to. I will not expand the deficit by giving giving a tax break to the top one percent of corporations in america. Would you be doing this current. President has done and i find it really deficit spend if you thought it was four. There are ways that we can be. We have to be smart. See here's the thing i i reject a conversation that is focused purely on what is it going to cost without asking what will be the benefit you know i love my friends in the private sector there cold-blooded when asked about their effectiveness. They are not burdened by ideology. They ask one question. Mr captured in three letters. What is the r._o._i. What is the return on the investment. You invest in education system of america. We will all benefit in a very very big way you you invest in working families in america and lift them up help them get through the end of the month with all those bills paid so that they don't have to go to the payday heyday lender and and and borrow money at an interest rate often of three hundred percent and go bankrupt. We will all benefit so i look at it in terms of the investment smith and i am prepared to make in the american people in american families because i'm going to bet on them every day and it will always be a good investment. You're going to go back to the senate and september looks like an actually have a gun gun proposal yeah. We should go back before mcconnell saying they'll vote. You're going to vote on something you take the red flag law. That's all you can get or do you have do you don't if you can't get you one of those well on this issue. I'm gonna tell you i am prepared when elected to actually take executive action. If congress doesn't yes yes you can yes you can and so i will one put in place is a comprehensive background check. I will also make sure that we have executive. Yes yes i do. I also will put in place a requirement and fund the a._t._f. To put greater enforcement into taking the licenses of gun dealers who violate the law. Do you know ninety percent of the guns that are connected with crime are sold by just five percent of the gun dealers they need. We need to take their licenses and then third unprepared by executive action to ban the importation of assault weapons into our country you with double ramps okay all right. Hey it's chris as from m._s._n._b._c. Sing you know every day i come to the office and we make television show and every day i think to myself there's so much more. 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