- Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign recently laid off members of its Baltimore staff.
- While talking with Cosmopolitan Editor-in-Chief Jessica Pels during her Candidates Come to Cosmo interview, Kamala addressed whether or not those layoffs are indicative of the health of her candidacy.
About a week before Kamala Harris visited Cosmo HQ to talk about her plans to fight for equal pay during a Candidates Come to Cosmo visit, news broke that her campaign laid off dozens of aides. Politico reported it was a “dramatic restructuring” of a campaign “hemorrhaging cash,” so obviously, Cosmo Editor-in-Chief Jessica Pels asked her about it directly.
Pels brought up the recent layoffs and financial struggles, questioning whether they reflect the health of Harris’s campaign, whether she intends to stay in the race, and if she’s shifting strategy. Harris responded by saying that so far, her campaign has “done okay,” but she admitted that before the Iowa primaries, there needed to be a strategy change.
“It’s the first-in-the-nation primary and, yeah, we had to make critical decisions about putting our resources into Iowa, which meant laying some folks—basically reconfiguring our resources in terms of where we were putting our resources, and we have to put our resources in Iowa and make some tough decisions, which, as you know when you run something like this, you’ve got to make tough decisions,” Harris said.
Read Harris’s full answer, below:
Jessica Pels: So according to recent reports your campaign has struggled financially and you’ve laid off staff. I want to know if this is indicative of the health of your candidacy and if you intend to stay in the race and if you’re shifting strategy? Tell me about what’s going on.
Kamala Harris: That’s great. I am definitely in this race, and I am in this race to win. We have always been focused and I am currently focused on Iowa. It’s the first-in-the-nation primary and, yeah, we had to make critical decisions about putting our resources into Iowa, which meant laying some folks—basically reconfiguring our resources in terms of where we were putting our resources, and we have to put our resources in Iowa and make some tough decisions, which, as you know when you run something like this, you’ve got to make tough decisions.
And the bottom line, though, is that I’m really fully aware of what our campaign is asking of people. And I want to talk about this for a moment because it’s the elephant in the room in our campaign, if not the donkey in the room. And it’s this, and the conversation goes something like this: “I’m not sure if America’s ready for a woman of color to be president of the United States. I’m really, I’m there, but I don’t know if my neighbor’s there.” “Oh, you know, maybe it’s not your turn. Maybe it’s not your time. Oh, it’s going to be so difficult.” Well, I will tell you, this is a conversation that is not new to me. In fact, this is a conversation I’ve heard in every campaign I have—and now here’s the operative word—won.
And I say this not to say anything about myself but to say everything about who the American people are, which is we have the ability to see what is possible even when we’ve never seen it before. We have the ability to believe and have faith in what can be, unburdened by what has been. But I am fully aware of what we are asking of people, which is to see that. But here’s the other thing I know: People cannot afford to be passive on this, cannot afford to sit back and wait for someone’s permission to tell you what is possible. When we believe in what is possible, we make it possible. And here’s the bottom line: There is nothing that, as a nation, we have achieved that has been about progress—be it our fight for social justice, our fight for civil rights, our fight for equality—nothing we have achieved that’s been about progress came about without a fight. And a fight against great obstacles.
So I know what is possible. I know, having been elected the first woman district attorney of San Francisco and the first woman of color to be district attorney of any county in a state of 40 million people. I know, having been elected attorney general of California, running the second largest Department of Justice as the first woman and the first person of color of any gender. I know, having been elected to the United States Senate as only the second black woman in the history of the United States Senate to be elected to that body, considered the most deliberative body in the world. I know that there will always be odds against it, but I never give up. And so far, we’ve done okay. And so far, we’ve done okay.
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