Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris has confirmed she will be attending CNN’s Climate Crisis Town Hall next month, flip-flopping on her initial response that a scheduling conflict would prevent her participation.
“We were happy to change our schedule to accommodate such a critical conversation,” Lily Adams, communications director for the Harris campaign, told The Hill.
“As Senator Harris has said, this is a climate crisis and is one of the most urgent reasons we need a new president.”
After Harris initially turned down her invitation, environmental groups like the Sunrise Movement called her out in a series of tweets, claiming that she was choosing a fundraiser over the climate change debate.
“Yikes. @KamalaHarris is skipping out on the first ever Presidential climate forum to schmooze with big donors,” the group tweeted. “Debating our generation’s survival isn’t optional.”
Sunrise Movement insisted that Harris should cancel her fundraiser to go to the town hall.
Harris’ campaign did not confirm whether the invitation was initially turned down because of a fundraiser, but Sunrise Movement praised Harris’ decision to attend.
“We’re glad she made the right choice here. Choosing big donors over our futures is what got us into this mess. We need a leader ready to change course,” the group tweeted.
We’re glad she made the right choice here. Choosing big donors over our futures is what got us into this mess. We need a leader ready to change course. https://t.co/Ec1E2ozM1U
— Sunrise Movement ? (@sunrisemvmt) August 20, 2019
Sunrise’s co-founder, Varshini Prakash, added, “The uncertainty over whether Senator Harris would attend goes to show why we absolutely need a standalone climate debate sponsored by the Democratic Party that every candidate feels is mandatory.
“A climate debate would show which politicians are ready to take this crisis seriously and give millions of young people a sense of hope and possibility unlike anything we’ve felt in years.”
Harris is one of the 10 Democratic candidates who has confirmed they will be attending the climate change town hall scheduled to take place on Sept. 4; each candidate had to reach 2 percent support in four Democratic National Committee-approved polls to receive an invitation, according to CNN.
Nine other candidates are slated to appear with Harris: former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Cory Booker; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke; Sen. Bernie Sanders; Sen. Elizabeth Warren; businessman Andrew Yang; and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
Instead of appearing on stage all at once, candidates will make back-to-back appearances and take questions from the live audience in New York and one of the CNN moderators.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who has built his platform on climate change, may not make the cut off for the event, according to Green Tech Media.
Candidates have until Wednesday to qualify for the town hall.
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