“When you're talking about consenting adults, I think that yes, we should really consider that we can't criminalize consensual behavior, as long as no one is being harmed," Senator Harris, D-Calif., told The Root. "But at the point that anyone is being harmed or exploited, then we have to understand that's a different matter."
When asked if she thought sex work should be decriminalized, Harris said: “I think so. I do.”
She added, however, that the issue “is not as simple as that.”
“There is an ecosystem around that, that includes crimes that harm people,” Harris said. “I do not believe that anybody who hurts another human being or profits off of their exploitation should be ... free of criminal prosecution."
Interviewer Terrell Jermaine Starr also asked Harris, “Is President Trump a racist?”
“Well look, when you talk about his statement [responding to the violence protests in Charlottesville, Virginia], when you talk about him calling African countries ‘s---hole’ countries, when you talk about him referring to immigrants as racists and murderers, I don’t think you can reach any other conclusions,” Harris responded
Starr asked Harris again if she “definitely” agreed that the president was a racist.
“I do, yes. Yes.” Harris said.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere responded Tuesday night: “The Senator’s claims are disgusting. President Trump has supported and passed historic criminal justice reform, pushed policies that have created the lowest unemployment rates for African Americans and Hispanic Americans in history, and repeatedly condemned racism and bigotry.”
For his part, in discussing his comments about undocumented immigrants being “murderers” and “rapists,” Trump has insisted he was talking specifically about MS-13 gang members and criminals.
But the issue that has garnered Trump the lion's share of criticism may be his reaction to the Charlottesville protests, during which neo-Nazis and white nationalists in Charlottesville marched and a counterprotester was fatally hit by a car.
“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump said in August 2017.
“To equate the ‘both sides’ gave me an incredible amount of pain and concern,” Harris told The Root about the president’s reaction.
Harris is not the first presidential candidate to call Trump a racist. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., did so last month.
Starr also asked Harris if it was worthwhile to pursue the votes of Americans who voted for Trump “despite all the racist things he has said.”
“I’m going to compete for every vote; not everybody will vote for me, but I’m going to compete for every vote,” Harris said.
Harris said she has rejected the idea America was a “postracial" society for years.
“Race is still a big issue in America,” Harris said.
Fox News' John Roberts contributed to this report.