Kamala Harris: Donald Trump is a 'predator'

WASHINGTON – Sen. Kamala Harris labeled President Donald Trump a "predator" that she could take on due to her background as a prosecutor — a new line of attack against the president as the California Democrat is surging following her debate performance last week.

While speaking in Iowa Wednesday, Harris invoked her record as a prosecutor, saying that she had gone after a number of groups that have "preyed" on Americans, including big banks and pharmaceutical companies.

“I know predators," she said, after rattling off the list. "And we have a predator living in the White House."

Harris said that Trump "has predatory nature and predatory instincts."

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"The things about predators you should know, they pray on the vulnerable. They prey on those who they do not believe are strong," she continued. "The thing about you must importantly know, predators are cowards.

"So when we look at this campaign, and we look at that task before us, it will be to successfully prosecute the case against four more years, against Donald Trump, and I am prepared to do that," she concluded.

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In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Harris explained her decision to describe Trump as a "predator.".

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"I've been thinking it," she said. "… You look about the instincts and the nature in how he has conducted himself. That is my conclusion."

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The California Democrat gained traction in some recent polls after she had a powerful exchange during the first Democratic primary debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, where she called out Biden for opposing federally mandated busing to integrate schools while he was in Congress.

Harris has leapfrogged into second place in the Democratic 2020 primary race, according to a number of polls. A Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday has her at 20% nationally — just two percentage points behind from Biden, who is at 22%. She also surged to second place nationally in a CNN poll released Monday.

The California senator has jumped into second place in Iowa with 16%, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY Poll released Tuesday.

But a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Wednesday showed Biden in the top spot among 2020 Democrats, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont with Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tied for third.

Contributing: Barbara Rodriguez, Des Moines Register

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kamala Harris: Donald Trump is a 'predator'