The United States is ready for a woman of colour to be president, Senator Kamala Harris said on Wednesday. Harris, who represents California in the Senate, is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants.

She told television channel ABC’s The View, “I’m not saying that about myself, but I am saying that about the capacity of the American public.”

She was on the show to promote her autobiography, titled The Truths We Told, which was released on Tuesday. It has sparked speculation that she will run against President Donald Trump in the US presidential elections in 2020. But when asked about this, the Senator herself kept her plans under wraps.

However, on Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Harris would announce her candidature on January 21, which is celebrated as Martin Luther King Jr Day.

Speaking of the government shutdown, Harris, on a CNN show, said, “It is a false choice to suggest that we’re going to hold 800,000 federal workers and all of the services that they provide hostage for this president’s vanity project.”

The government has shut down because of the US Congress’ refusal to grant funds to the Trump administration for the president’s pet border wall project. Trump had promised during his presidential campaign in 2016 that he would build a wall on the United States-Mexico border to prevent an influx of illegal immigrants. The president had asked Congress to sanction $5.7 billion in federal spending to build the wall but the Democrats opposed it. As a result no agreement was reached on the budget for the year, beginning December 22.

As many as 800,000 federal workers, including in the departments of agriculture, commerce, justice, homeland security, housing and urban development, interior, state, transportation and treasury, have been placed on temporary leave or furloughed. Essential workers, however, will have to continue to work without pay until the shutdown ends.

On Wednesday, Trump walked out of a meeting with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, saying talks were a “total waste of time”.

Later in the day, Harris likened Trump to her 11-year-old godson. She was speaking at a book-launch related event at Washington’s George Washington University. “Any good parenting would tell you that you don’t listen to those kinds of tantrums, and you don’t reward that behaviour,” she said. Democrats should not give in to Trump’s demand, she added