Fact Check: Sen. Kamala Harris Does Know at Least One Predator

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) in recent weeks has taken to calling President Trump “a predator” who “preys” on vulnerable Americans.

While speaking in Iowa on July 3, for instance, Harris touted her record as a prosecutor, claiming that she went after groups that had “preyed” on Americans–including big banks and pharmaceutical companies.

“I know predators, and we have a predator living in the White House,” she declared, adding that “Trump “has predatory nature and predatory instincts.”

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

She repeated those lines in the Democrat debate last night.

“I have a background where successfully, I have prosecuted the big banks who preyed on homeowners, prosecuted pharmaceutical companies who preyed on seniors, prosecuted transnational criminal organizations that preyed on women and children, and I will tell you we have a predator living in the White House,” said Harris dramatically.

“The thing about this person is he’s got predatory instincts and a predatory nature,” Harris added. “Because let me tell you a secret about predators. They prey on the vulnerable. They prey on those who they assume are weak. They prey on those they assume are desperate. And the thing about predators is this — they’re cowards!”

Harris should be congratulated for spouting some of the most shameless and demagogic nonsense on a campaign field crowded with shameless demagogues.

But she was right about one thing. She does know at least one predator “who preys on those who he does not believe are strong.”

One of Harris’ longtime aides, Larry Wallace, would seem to fit that description.

In 2016, Wallace was accused of “gender harassment and other demeaning behavior” by his former executive assistant, the Sacramento Bee reported last fall. After the employee, Danielle Hartley, complained to a superior about the harassment, Harris’ office allegedly retaliated against her. Harris claims to have known nothing about it.

Hartley sued the state Department of Justice on Dec. 30, 2016, just before Harris assumed her current office.

According to the lawsuit, Wallace placed his printer on the floor underneath his desk and ordered Hartley to replace the paper or ink on a daily basis. When she asked to move the printer to another location so she would not have to crawl under his desk in dresses and skirts, the lawsuit states, Wallace refused. Wallace frequently asked Hartley to put paper in the printer while he was sitting at his desk or in front of other male executives from the division, according to the lawsuit.

Hartley also complained in the lawsuit that Wallace took away her “meaningful tasks” and put her in charge of running personal errands instead, including booking flights for Wallace’s children and washing and performing maintenance on his car. When she would return from these assignments, the lawsuit states, “co-workers would make hostile comments to her including, ‘Are you walking the walk of shame?’”

According to the lawsuit, Hartley eventually informed her supervisor, Shannon Patterson, of the harassment and asked for help. “Hartley observed Patterson enter Wallace’s office and met with him behind closed doors,” the lawsuit states, but after that, she began to experience retaliation.

The lawsuit describes that Hartley was “set up to fail,” micro-managed by Patterson, investigated by internal affairs on a “fabricated charge” for which she was never informed of the outcome, and “told she should quit her job and seek employment elsewhere.”

When she tried to get a job outside the department, she was unsuccessful because she began suffering from panic attacks and depression due to the “stress from all of the harassment,” according to the lawsuit.

After the Sacramento Bee broke the story last December, Wallace resigned in disgrace. Harris, meanwhile, denied knowing about the allegations, even though Wallace had been her senior aide and had been a close colleague for 14 years.

“For Harris to flatly deny any knowledge of this settlement seems, shall we say, far-fetched,” the Bee opined. “At a minimum, Harris should have known [a] key staff member was accused of harassment.” Harris has made sexual harassment in the workplace a top campaign issue.

The paper went on to suggest that Harris was perhaps not “a terribly good manager, and that her staff was insulating her from information critical to the performance of her duties.”

So she’s either a lying, two-faced monster, or an inept manager who had no idea what was going on in her own office.

Of course, it’s certainly possible that both things are true.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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