Two years out from the next American presidential election, there have already been a lot of people hypothesized as potential candidates. One of the most famous is Oprah Winfrey, whose stirring speech at the Golden Globes convinced many commentators that she could make a good president. Senator Kamala Harris of California, who with the 2016 election became the first Indian-American elected to the U.S. Senate, is a more likely candidate than Winfrey, but she shares the A Wrinkle in Time star’s shyness when it comes to definitively announcing a presidential run. When questioned by Ellen DeGeneres on her show this week, Harris declined to say whether she was running for president. Instead, she highlighted the political struggles of Americans across the country, from the young survivors of school shootings calling for gun control to young immigrant kids whose protections under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) are being threatened by the Trump administration.
“It’s been happening for a while now, people putting it out there that you might run for president or that they want you to run for president,” DeGeneres said. “You’re probably not gonna answer me but I’m gonna ask anyway. Will you run for president? What’s your answer?”
“Here’s my answer. Right now, we are in the early months of 2018, and at this very moment in time there are people across America who have priorities around their health care, can they get to the end of the month and pay their bills and student loans, can they afford to pay for gas or housing?” Harris said. “These DACA kids too. Guns, we’ve got to pass an assault weapons ban, we need to pass universal background checks. These are immediate needs, and these are the things I’m focused on now. I’ve seen so many people, Ellen, focused on that thing over there and tripping over this thing here. I don’t want to trip.”
Harris did have advice for Americans who are fighting for their rights, using an Ellen-approved term she called “joyful warriors.”
“We have to be joyful warriors,” Harris said. “I decided at the end of last year, there was so much that was creating depression, anger, anxiety, I said I’m done with that. I don’t like that feeling, I don’t think any of us do. So let’s just go into 2018 and be joyful warriors.”
Watch the full video above.