California Senator Kamala Harris warned that cyber attacks are becoming a “new form of war” Monday night during CNN’s town hall, ominously stating that it will be “a war without blood”—one for which the United States is not prepared.
“We are vulnerable in terms of all of the systems that hold together our financial systems, that hold together our medical care systems. And we’ve got to pay greater attention,” she said, noting that a bipartisan bill she’s supported to help strengthen state election systems against cyber attacks has been neglected by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Russian intelligence interfered with the 2016 presidential election; Harris said we need to be ready for additional attacks.
“This will be to our collective peril when people play politics with an issue that is truly about our vulnerability as a country,” said Harris.
The California Democrat addressed nearly all the headlining issues of the 2020 presidential campaign during CNN’s town hall Monday night, stressing the need for new leadership to steer policy on gun control, healthcare, environmental protection, and cybersecurity.
“We need leadership that understands the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us, and they’ve got to stop dividing us,” said Harris, speaking to a crowd of young adults and students in Manchester, N.H. “And that’s why I’m running for president. That’s one of the reasons.”
A strong advocate of Medicare for all, Harris shared her personal experience caring for her ailing mother, who eventually died from cancer, noting how such an illness can consume many parts of one’s life.
“Access to healthcare is a right,” she said, “and not a privilege for those who can afford it.”
Harris ensured that private insurance companies would not be dissolved entirely under Medicare-for-all. The plan, she said, dictates that Medicare would be expanded to include dental, vision, hearing aids, and mental healthcare, but private companies may offer supplemental coverage, as well.
In defense of another major progressive legislation on which Democrats have had mixed views—the Green New Deal—Harris argued that the document is all-encompassing of the urgency and direction needed to tackle climate change. It addresses green energy jobs, investments in electric cars, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
“There was a time and still to this day where we’re fighting wars over oil. In a short matter of time, we’re going to be fighting wars over water,” Harris warned. “Part of what we can do with the Green New Deal is have a sense of urgency on all these matters, including the precious nature of water and what we need to do to be smarter on public policy.”
Harris also criticized the “supposed leaders” in Washington who she said have “failed to have the courage” to take action on gun control. If she’s elected president, Harris said she would give Congress 100 days to enact comprehensive gun reform. If lawmakers fail to act, Harris said she would take executive action to expand background check requirements, revoke licenses from gun dealers who break the law, and reinstate the ban on fugitives purchasing weapons, which was lifted under the Trump administration.
Other “day one” issues include signing the Equal Rights Amendment and the Equality Act, which address women’s equality and LGBTQ+ protections. Harris stressed her strong record of supporting LGBTQ+ rights, noting that when many were discussing civil unions in 2004, she was marrying same-sex couples at San Francisco’s city hall.
She said it is “absolutely unconscionable” that the current administration is banning transgender individuals from the military, confidently adding, “that is something I would reverse immediately when I am elected president of the United States.”