By Joseph Wulfsohn
Published January 24, 2019
Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat who has declared her 2020 presidential candidacy, challenged President Trump to use his tower in New York City as shelter for furloughed federal workers during the partial government shutdown.
During an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Harris expressed hope that the votes being held in the Senate this week will lead to the reopening of the government, which has been partially shut down since Dec. 22.
Federal workers “don’t want a wall," she said. "They want to a paycheck.”
“I think it is absolutely the height of irresponsibility that this administration is holding them and the American public hostage over the president’s vanity project," Harris continued. "We have to keep the government running and we have to open the government back up and there should not be any conditions on that."
Harris, 54, a former California attorney general and district attorney in San Francisco, warned of the consequences of the shutdown, including FBI and Department of Homeland Security employees not getting paid. She accused Trump of being “hypocritical” for advocating that a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would strengthen national security while the shutdown, in her view, has weakened it.
“If you really want to secure the nation, pay those people to do the job they took an oath to do every day,” Harris told Maddow.
Harris listed some of the effects of the shutdown, including federal workers waiting in food lines and facing eviction.
“You know what I think should happen? If the president feels this strongly about it, then open up the Trump Tower and let everybody live in there rent-free and then we could start having a discussion. I bet he’s got some rooms,” Harris laughed.
“February 1st is going to be rent day for a lot of people,” Maddow said.
“Yes, and it’s no joking matter,” Harris responded.
The Democrat later urged Congress to “do something” and demanded that a clean bill be brought to the Senate floor.
“Have the courage. Have the courage to stand up and say what you know to be true. It is wrong and it is unnecessary,” Harris added.
The Harris campaign recently announced that several top staffers of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign are joining her team, including Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias.