Elections

Kamala Harris to Beaufort County audience: Donald Trump’s gotta go

Whether by impeachment or at the polls, Donald Trump has to be booted from office, presidential hopeful Kamala Harris told a Beaufort County audience Saturday.

The California senator and former prosecutor made another stop in South Carolina ahead of the state’s Democratic presidential primary, appearing with fast-food workers in Charleston and advocating for a $15 minimum wage before speaking at a town hall event at USC Beaufort’s Bluffton campus Saturday afternoon.

Harris told the Bluffton crowd that she would work to unify the country as president and soothe some of the divisiveness she said has been sown by Trump.

“I know we have so much more in common than what separates us,” she said. “We need to heal.”

Event organizers brought out more folding chairs after initial seats filled ahead of Harris’ remarks at the USC Beaufort Campus Center. About 200 people filled the room and another several dozen watched Harris from outside in the lobby.

Harris was asked whether fossil fuel companies would be held accountable for climate change —”Yes” — and whether the electoral college was necessary — “No.”

On the question of a Congressional impeachment investigation of Trump, Harris said removing Trump from office would likely never come to vote in the Republican-controlled Senate but that the process was necessary to check a potential abuse of power.

Algric Chaplin, a 65-year-old St. Helena Island native, said he had long decided Harris was his favored candidate. Chaplin said he lived in California when Harris was attorney general and admired her tenacity.

“She’s smart,” he said. “She knows what she’s talking about.”

The stop was the former California attorney general’s 11th in the Palmetto State, where she was favored by 7 percent of likely voters in a recent Winthrop poll — fourth among the crowded Democratic field.

Earlier Saturday, Harris joined a demonstration in North Charleston by McDonald’s employees striking for a $15 wage and union rights before speaking at the Charleston County Democratic Party’s Blue Jamboree.

In Beaufort County, where local government officials are grappling with the issue of affordable housing and the hospitality industry faces a workforce shortage, Harris repeated her support for a $15 minimum wage and the rights of workers to collectively bargain.

“At its core for me, it’s about the dignity of work,” Harris told reporters after the town hall.

Harris introduced a Senate bill last week that would allocate $13 billion for affordable housing initiatives. She has promoted an affordable housing tax credit for those who spend more than a third of their income on rent and utility bills.

Lady’s Island resident Rosemary Rosen, 64, said she attended the town all as part of her intention to see all of the visiting Democratic candidates. She said she liked Harris but would vote for whoever earns the Democratic nomination.

“We need to have somebody reasonable,” Rosen said. “She seems like a reasonable person.”

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