A top adviser to President Trump said Wednesday that Sen. Kamala D. Harris will have to answer for her record in California prosecuting marijuana offenders while allegedly overlooking more serious crimes.
“She called herself a criminal reformer and she also called herself a top cop,” said White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway. “She put people away for marijuana use and then let go people, gave plea deals to defendants, who had done far worse than marijuana use. She is going to be expected to answer for that record.”
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden tapped Ms. Harris on Tuesday as his running mate. The former California attorney general is the first Black woman on a major-party ticket.
During the Democratic primary debates, Ms. Harris came under fire from her rivals for over-aggressive jailing of pot users. She was accused of hypocrisy for saying that she now supports legalizing marijuana.
Mr. Biden also has come under fire for sponsoring laws in the Senate in the 1980s and 1990s that often resulted in harsher prison sentences for minority defendants in drug cases.
Ms. Harris served as district attorney for six years in San Francisco, where her office prosecuted about 1,900 marijuana cases.
Mrs. Conway said Ms. Harris “left nobody happy when it came to law and order.”
The president’s adviser said Americans can celebrate Ms. Harris’ history-making candidacy and also ask tough questions about her record as a state and local prosecutor. She raised the question of “why somebody who seems forward-looking would actually bring us backward as a nation through her record, and her policies and her beliefs.”
“She’s part of a ticket that has that problem,” Mrs. Conway said. “Sen. Harris cannot cure the flaws and the inadequacies at the top of the ticket.”
Mrs. Conway and Rep. Elise Stefanik, New York Republican, said Ms. Harris overall is “soft on crime.”
“While she was district attorney in San Francisco, she had a far-left record,” Ms. Stefanik said in a conference call organized by the Trump campaign. “She refused to seek the death penalty for cop killers and MS-13 gang members. At the same time, the number of homicides and aggravated assaults significantly increased in California.”
She said Ms. Harris supports sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants, and “has publicly supported cutting funding” for the Los Angeles Police Department.
“This is as we’re seeing increases in crime in cities across this country,” Ms. Stefanik said.
She said Mr. Biden’s choice has produced “the most far-left ticket in the history of the Democratic Party.”