Trump’s New ‘Nasty’ Woman: Kamala Harris


When President Trump said on Wednesday that Senator Kamala Harris was “probably very nasty” in her questioning of Attorney General William P. Barr at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, he brought back sharp memories for many Democrats. During the final presidential debate in 2016, Mr. Trump described Hillary Clinton as “a nasty woman,” a phrase that drew disgust from many critics, spawned countless memes and merchandise and became a feminist rallying cry.

Mr. Trump’s latest use of the adjective, in an interview on the Fox Business Network, was part of a wider attack on the three Democratic presidential candidates who sit on the Judiciary Committee, all of whom questioned Mr. Barr at the hearing.

“How about these three people?” Mr. Trump said, in an apparent reference to Ms. Harris, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

“You have three of them running against me, and they’re up there ranting and raving like lunatics, frankly,” he said. “They don’t care about this. They’re just looking for political points.”

It was the second time in a week Mr. Trump had used the word “nasty” to describe Ms. Harris. Last Thursday, when the Fox News host Sean Hannity asked him for his thoughts on the senator, Mr. Trump said, “I think she’s got a little bit of a nasty wit, but that might be it.”

Asked Thursday on CNN about why Mr. Trump had chosen to describe her as “nasty,” Ms. Harris chose not to speculate, saying, “God only knows.”

Instead, she drew a broader contrast with the president.

“We have a president of the United States whose primary interest, I think, that has been clear as a result of what we know as a result of the Mueller report, his primary interest has been to obstruct justice,” Ms. Harris said. “My primary interest is to pursue justice. You can call that whatever name you want, but I think that’s what the American people want in a leader.”

Ms. Harris was pointed in her questioning of Mr. Barr at the hearing on Wednesday, which centered on his handling of the special counsel’s report. She displayed her prosecutorial style from her days as San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general, rattling off questions and repeatedly cutting him short. At one point, she prodded Mr. Barr into saying that he had not examined the underlying evidence before deciding not to charge the president with obstruction of justice.

Several Democrats, including Ms. Harris, have called on Mr. Barr to resign. In the interview on Wednesday, Mr. Trump called those demands “ridiculous.”

Mr. Trump has previously offered a measure of praise for Ms. Harris. Asked who he believed to be the Democrats’ “toughest candidate,” in an interview with The New York Times in January, Mr. Trump said: “Somebody that you think would be the least tough is the toughest. I would say, the best opening so far would be Kamala Harris. I would say, in terms of the opening act, I would say, would be her.”