Sen. Kamala Harris may be more like Joe Biden than we thought.
The so-called vice president-elect has been roundly criticized over an interview that she gave with Elle magazine that seemed to be lifted from a story told by the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.
King was interviewed by Playboy magazine in January 1965 and he recalled a demonstration in Birmingham. He said he saw a black girl, about eight years old, accosted by a white police officer. The girl had been walking with her mother, King said. He said the police officer asked the girl what she wanted, and the girl responded, “Free-dom.”
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King told the magazine that interaction stayed with him, and it “buoyed” him during his most trying times.
Harris’ story also begins at a civil rights march, but in Oakland, Calif. She told the magazine that she was separated from her family for a brief time and when they reunited, her mother asked her what she wanted.
“And I just looked at her and I said, ‘Fweedom,” Harris recalled.
Syamala Gopalan, Harris’mother, was an Indian immigrant who was a prominent cancer researcher. She died in 2009. The New York Post reported that Harris told the story on several occasions, including in her 2010 book, “Smart on Crime.”
Harris has told stories about her struggles with racism while a child. She brought up one example during the second Democratic presidential debate, where she confronted Biden after he called his relationship with segregationist senators as “civil.”
“It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing,” Harris told Biden. “And you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.”
The interaction was seen as a devastating blow to Biden at the time, but the New York Times later reported that Biden never opposed voluntary busing.
Biden knows what it’s like to face plagiarism allegations and emerge from them. In 1987, Biden lifted phrases “and mannerisms from a British Labour Party politician” during closing remarks at a debate, the Washington Post reported. The paper reported that his 2020 campaign was also forced to acknowledge that it lifted entire phrases (without attribution) in its climate plans.
Harris has not commented on the allegations as of Tuesday. The Huffington Post reported that a Harris spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry.