Loretta Sanchez, a candidate for U.S. Senate in California, unleashed a sharp critique of President Barack Obama on Tuesday for endorsing her Democratic rival, Kamala Harris, suggesting he should instead focus on helping beat Republican Donald Trump in the presidential race.
“I am disappointed that President Obama chose to endorse in an historic Senate race between two Democrats,” Sanchez, a nearly 20-year congresswoman from Orange County, said in a prepared statement that ran nearly 550 words. “I would think the Leader of the Democratic Party would be focused on defeating Donald Trump and supporting Democratic Senate candidates against Republicans.”
“California’s Senate seat does not belong to the political establishment – it belongs to the People of California, and I believe California voters will make their own independent choice for U.S. Senate in November.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden made a dual endorsement of Harris, the state attorney general, earlier Tuesday, solidifying Harris’ standing with Democrats.
Obama lauded Harris’ work to root out transnational gangs exploiting women and children and her stance on for-profit colleges taking advantage of students and burying them in debt. He also pointed to her efforts to protect gay marriage and reform the criminal justice system.
Sanchez, in her rebuke, disagreed with Obama’s praise of Harris for negotiating a $20 billion settlement with banks following the national mortgage crisis. She said Harris’ record on helping victims of the mortgage crises “showed few results for victims.”
“Her lack of experience on national security and federal issues may explain her notorious inability to take a timely stand on important federal issues, but that does not explain her failure to lead on a whole array of issues including a state investigation of officer-involved shootings,” she said. “Troubling increases in crime rates during her tenure, including a 10 percent increase in violent crimes including rape, reveal an Attorney General who says little and does even less.”