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Trump and Harris Trade Gibes Over Justice Event: Campaign Update

Emma Kinery

(Bloomberg) -- Kamala Harris and Donald Trump traded gibes Saturday over a South Carolina criminal justice forum and the decision to give the president an award, which led the senator to cancel her appearance.

Trump said he was being honored for signing into law criminal justice reform legislation that he said helped African American and other communities.

“Badly failing presidential candidate @KamalaHarris will not go to a very wonderful largely African American event today because yesterday I recieved a major award,” Trump tweeted on Saturday, misspelling received. “This and best unemployment numbers EVER is more than Kamala will EVER be able to do for African Americans!”

Less than an hour later, Harris fired back: “My whole life I’ve fought for justice and for the people — something you’d know nothing about. The only part of criminal justice you can claim credit for is the ‘criminal’ part.”

On Friday, announcing her withdrawal from the forum, Harris criticized Trump for “decades of celebrating mass incarceration, pushing the death penalty for innocent black Americans, rolling back police accountability measures and racist behavior that puts people’s lives at risk.”

Buttigieg Unveils Justice Proposal (7 a.m.)

Pete Buttigieg has released a plan to reform the criminal justice system that would cut incarceration rates in half, focus sentencing on rehabilitation and increase police accountability.

“We must recognize that our criminal system is unfair and racist in many ways. This must change,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “Justice must include a real second chance, and incarceration should be not only about detention, but about redemption.”

The Democratic presidential candidate’s proposal calls for eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, banning private prisons and forming an independent clemency commission separate from the Department of Justice to commute sentences.

He also proposes eliminating prison time for drug possession on the federal level and reducing sentence periods for other drug offenses; both would be applied retroactively to those currently serving time.

Buttigieg unveiled the proposal as he was scheduled to speak on Saturday at Benedict College, a historically black college in Columbia, South Carolina, that is hosting the Second Step Presidential Justice Forum, which promotes bipartisan criminal justice reform. Buttigieg’s Democratic rivals, including Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren will also speak. President Donald Trump appeared at the event on Friday.

Another candidate, Kamala Harris, said Friday night that she was dropping out of the forum because Trump had been given an award.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, calls for decreasing the number of inmates, ensuring that those in prison are given job training and access to education and abolishing the death penalty.

His plan also has a section devoted to policing reform. His handling of a police shooting of an unarmed black resident in South Bend has hurt his image with minority voters. He proposes raising the legal standard for police officers to use deadly force, creating a national review board and federal database of infractions, and establishing a National Police Academy.

COMING UP

Buttigieg, Biden, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Sanders are to take part in the Benedict College forum on Saturday. Warren, Julian Castro and Tulsi Gabbard will speak on Sunday.

Fourteen presidential candidates, including Biden, Buttigieg, Sanders and Warren are scheduled to speak on Nov. 1 at the Liberty and Justice Celebration hosted by the Iowa Democratic Party in Des Moines.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emma Kinery in Washington at ekinery@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, John Harney

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