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Trump called Kamala Harris ‘nasty’ – is it because she grills powerful men?

Harris has subjected Trump’s allies – and even Joe Biden – to rigorous cross-examination. We choose her best moments

Kamala Harris. Nasty or ‘not nice’ seem to be words Trump reserves for women who hold men in power to account.






Kamala Harris. Nasty or ‘not nice’ seem to be words Trump reserves for women who hold men in power to account.
Photograph: Eric Thayer/Reuters

On Tuesday, Donald Trump referred to Kamala Harris as a “nasty woman”, referencing her 2018 grilling of Brett Kavanaugh over allegations – denied by Kavanaugh – that the now supreme court justice attempted to rape Dr Christine Blasey Ford when they were teenagers.

Nasty or “not nice” seem to be words Trump reserves for women who hold men in power to account: Trump similarly insulted Hilary Clinton during the 2016 election race, when she hinted at his reluctance to publish his tax returns. Trump also ordered female reporters who question him to “be nice” and has previously said it was not “nice” to call a woman “tough”.

But Harris, who was previously California’s top prosecutor – for which she has drawn criticism – doesn’t like to go easy on her opponents. In fact, she routinely subjects them to strong and thorough cross-examination.

Here’s a list of her “nastiest” – or, depending on how you view it, strongest – lines of questioning.

Joe Madison
(@MadisonSiriusXM)

Any woman who opposes Donald Trump gets called a #nastywoman. But mark my words: if he tries to treat @KamalaHarris the way he’s treated all those other women, she will eat him for lunch. https://t.co/oA2xlkvsVB

August 12, 2020

Questioning Brett Kavanaugh


Key moments from the Ford and Kavanaugh hearings – video

Kavanaugh was questioned over a four-day confirmation hearing in relation to Dr Ford’s allegations – during which Harris’s questioning was a standout moment. Her blistering questions propelled her into the spotlight: Kavanaugh squirmed as Harris asked whether he would request an FBI investigation into the claims; whether men who have female friends can still do harmful things to other women; and whether he even bothered to watch Dr Ford’s testimony (he didn’t).

Making Jeff Sessions nervous

Keith Boykin
(@keithboykin)

Hillary Clinton endured 11 hours of GOP-led Benghazi hearing, but Jeff Sessions gets “nervous” from a tough question by Sen. Kamala Harris. pic.twitter.com/3gdobbotnW

June 14, 2017

In 2017, during investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the then attorney general, Jeff Sessions, seemed to have a memory problem. He didn’t remember anyone he met. He prefaced many of his answers with “to the best of my recollection”, and even in his written testimony, he wrote of not remembering key details. When Harris repeatedly pressed Sessions on his refusal to answer questions, he said her questioning was making him nervous.

William Barr didn’t see it coming

Nate Lerner
(@NathanLerner)

Kamala Harris is going to be an especially huge asset for Biden and Democrats if Trump and Barr refuse to accept the election results and won’t leave the White House.

She will tear them apart. pic.twitter.com/VVNucdKJcs

August 12, 2020

During the Mueller investigation, Harris flexed her legal muscle when it came to grilling Sessions’ successor as attorney general, William Barr. Her quick questioning, willingness to elaborate, and refusal to be sidetracked when he pretended not to understand were all prime viewing for someone who wants to see how a nasty woman goes about not letting a man off the hook.

She even grilled Biden

Kyle Kashuv
(@KyleKashuv)

Reupping this clip of Kamala Harris demolishing Joe Biden in the debates — for no reason at all today. #VPPick pic.twitter.com/noyF93mKkQ

August 11, 2020

If it’s true that you should be with someone who challenges you, Biden has made the right decision in choosing Harris as his running mate. During the Democratic race, he and Harris frequently went toe-to-toe. When Biden came under fire for working with segregationist senators to oppose bussing, he said he was backed by the only African American woman ever in the Senate – completely forgetting about Harris. She interjected: “No, the other one is here.”

Her standout moment came when she gave frank testimony about the impact of bussing on her own life, showing grace and grit as she held Biden to account.

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