Washington: Democrat Kamala Harris, the first Indian-American to serve in the US Senate, has criticised President Donald Trump over the federal government shutdown and called it a "crisis of the President's own making".
Harris, in a CNN interview on Wednesday, said the American people deserve better leadership than they are seeing "under this President", stating that the shutdown has thrown lives into chaos.
"It is a false choice to suggest that we're going to hold 800,000 federal workers and all of the services that they provide hostage for this President's vanity project," she said.
In the interview, the Democratic senator spoke about how her heritage as the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica has shaped her outlook on the plight of immigrants under the policies of the Trump administration.
In her new memoir, "The Truths We Hold", Harris described her anger watching her mother become a target because she was "brown-skinned" and how that has driven her efforts to enhance the legal and humanitarian protections over immigrants coming into the US.
Harris told CNN that she was blessed with a nurturing, happy, healthy childhood, but has been dismayed by Trump's vilification of immigrants.
"When we talk about the immigration debate, I think there is no question that there are powerful forces, including this President, that are attempting to vilify immigrants because they were born in another country," the former California attorney general said.
After the interview, Harris on Wednesday night again turned up the heat on Trump by blasting his insistence on holding out for funding for his border wall before reopening the government -- comparing the President's behaviour to how her 11-year-old godson might have behaved with his toy train.
"Any good parenting would tell you that you don't listen to those kinds of tantrums, and you don't reward that behaviour," she said during her first formal event for her memoir, which was held at Washington's George Washington University.
She argued that Democrats should not cave to those sorts of tactics.
Harris' remarks comes a day after Trump in a primetime address to the nation appealed to the American people to pressure legislators to fund the border wall he wants and end the government shutdown.