United States President Donald Trump on Friday took a swipe at his rival Democrat Joe Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris, claiming that he had the support of “more Indians than she does”, ANI reported. Harris is the first woman of African and South Asian heritage to serve as running mate on a major party ticket.

Trump also claimed that Harris was “a step worse” than Biden. “If Joe Biden would become the president, he will immediately pass legislation to gut every single police department in America and probably Kamala [Harris] is a step worse,” Trump was quoted as saying by the news agency in his address to the members of the City of New York Police Benevolent Association. “She [Harris] is of Indian heritage. I have more Indians than she has.”

In another press conference at the White House, Trump accused Harris of treating Biden “badly”. “She [Harris] treated Biden worse than anybody else by far,” Trump said. “There was nobody, including Pocahontas, nobody treated Biden so badly as Kamala.” Pocahontas is a jibe that Trump has often used to refer to Senator Elizabeth Warren. It refers to accusations that she had falsely claimed Native American heritage in a Harvard directory. Warren tried to defend herself with a DNA test to show a sliver of Native American ancestry but it backfired and led to criticism.

Trump was responding to questions about whether he saw Harris as a threat to his prospects. He said that he did not see Harris as a threat at all.

“No, I haven’t been blunt [about Kamala Harris] ,” Trump added. “I said she treated Joe Biden worse than anybody else. I watch those debates. They were very boring but they were debates nevertheless.”

On Thursday, Trump promoted a conspiracy theory about Harris’ legitimacy to run for the vice-president’s post and raised doubts about her citizenship. The conspiracy theory started doing the rounds after a conservative law professor questioned Harris’ eligibility. However, US records show that Harris was born in Oakland, California, on October 20, 1964. Critics decry the theory as racist.

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Harris and Biden, on the other hand, had called Trump an incompetent leader in their elections speech on Wednesday. “Donald Trump has already started his attacks, calling Kamala, quote, nasty, whining about how she is, quote, mean to his appointees,” Biden said. “It’s not a surprise because whining is what Donald Trump does best, better than any president in American history.”

Anger over racist cartoon

A cartoon published in a major Australian newspaper on Friday, showing Biden referring to Harris as “this little brown girl”, has sparked outrage on social media.

The cartoon was published by Johannes Leak in The Australian newspaper.

Australian MP Andrew Giles was one of the first people to denounce the cartoon. “This [Friday] morning in the Australian newspaper there’s a cartoon depicting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” he wrote on Twitter. “It’s offensive and racist. There should be no place for this in Australia, it diminishes us all. It’s time for zero tolerance of racism, and a national anti-racism strategy.”

Several writers and journalists also expressed their outrage over the cartoon.

Even amid fierce criticism, The Australian stood by its cartoon. “The words ‘little black and brown girls’ belong to Joe Biden, not Johannes [Leak, and were uttered by the presidential candidate when he named Kamala Harris as his running mate yesterday; he repeated them in a tweet soon after,” the newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Christopher Dore said in a note to the employees, according to Reuters.

Dore referred to a tweet by Biden on Thursday, the day he announced that Harris would be his running mate. “This morning, little girls woke up across this nation – especially Black and Brown girls who so often may feel overlooked and undervalued in our society – potentially seeing themselves in a new way: As the stuff of Presidents and Vice Presidents.”

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