Republican senator John Kennedy attempted to mock vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris during the senate confirmation hearing of Amy Coney Barrett.
The supreme court nominee was grilled by Harris earlier this week and faced scrutiny over several topics such as Covid-19, whether cigarettes can cause cancer and the threat of climate change.
Barrett was steadfast on most of those issues but said that the issue of the climate crisis was a 'contentious matter'.
Barrett's response was notable in that she didn't mention the question about climate change.
You have asked me a series of questions that are completely uncontroversial, like whether COVID-19 is infectious, whether smoking causes cancer and then trying to analogize that to eliciting an opinion from me that is a very contentious matter of public debate... I will not do that, I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially when it's politically controversial, cause that's inconsistent with the judicial role.
To which Harris replied:
Thank you, Judge Barrett. You have made your point clear that you believe [climate change] is a debatable point.
Kennedy spoke to Barrett after she had been addressed by Harris but the Louisiana senator seemed to take exception with the VP nominees' questions asking some of his own but in a mocking fashion.
Judge let's try to answer some of senator Harris's accusations. Are you a racist? Do you support, in all cases, corporations over working people? Are you against clean air, bright water and environmental justice? Do you support science? Do you support children and prosperity? Do you hate little warm puppies?
Barrett answered yes to all of these questions before laughing at the question about puppies and confirming that she does not hate warm puppies.
Kennedy did caveat that he was friends with Harris and understood why she was asking such questions to Barrett, but wanted to add that he disagreed with her that certain states discriminated against voters based on the colour of their skin or their gender.
Senator Harris has implied that some states are pristine and others aren't in discriminating against people because of gender, race, or ethnicity. We disagree. She thinks America is systemically racist. I don't. I think our history is the best evidence of that. I don't think we are a racist country. I think we are a country that has some racists in it but I'm very proud of the fact that in 150 years we have gone from institutionalised slavery to an African-American president.
He added that Harris' state of California has a 'deep history of discrimination' against Asian-Americans and Hispanics and she has a record as a prosecutor had its own racial disparities.