Democratic Senator Kamala Harris is looking to become the first African American woman to hold the office of US president after announcing she will join the 2020 presidential race.
“I am running for president of the United States,” Ms Harris declared on ABC’s Good Morning America program on Tuesday morning (Australian time), launching her campaign on the national holiday honouring civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr, whom she said her mother met.
Ms Harris, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, vowed to “bring our voices together” and portrayed herself in a campaign video as a fighter for justice, decency and equality.
“They’re the values we as Americans cherish, and they’re all on the line now,” Senator Harris said in the video.
“The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values.”
Watch Ms Harris’ campaign launch video below:
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 21, 2019
Ms Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica who identifies as African-American, joked that she had a “stroller’s-eye view” of the civil rights movement because her parents wheeled her and her sister Maya to protests in the 1960s.
“My parents were very active in the civil rights movement and that’s the language that I grew up hearing,” she said.
“And it was about a belief that we are a country that was founded on noble ideals and we are the best of who we are when we fight to achieve those ideals.”
Ms Harris’ campaign announcement follows the high-profile entrances of fellow senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and former housing secretary Juilán Castro.
Republicans were quick to call out Ms Harris as being “unqualified and out-of-touch”.
“Kamala Harris is arguably the least vetted Democrat running for president,” Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens said in a statement.
“All she has to show for her brief time in the Senate is a radically liberal voting record,” he added.
According to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, 54 per cent of Democratic primary voters were unsure of, or had never heard of Ms Harris, but that is likely to change soon.
Ms Harris, a former district attorney of San Francisco, recently toured the country promoting her new memoir The Truths We Hold: An American Journey. In it, she compares herself to former US President Barack Obama and details the many times she stood up to Mr Trump.