Plastic Pollution

Trump Campaign Attacks Kamala Harris for Wanting To Ban Plastic Straws

Both Harris and the Trump campaign agree that plastic straws are a superior product. Only Harris wants to ban them.


The Trump campaign is continuing its attempt to paint Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) as a dangerous left-wing radical in the wake of her selection as Joe Biden's running mate. The latest angle of attack: her support for plastic straw bans.

This morning, the campaign tweeted out a short new attack ad featuring footage of Harris saying that we should ban plastic straws in response to a question from CNN's Erin Burnett at a 2019 town hall on climate issues.

The short clip also features Biden saying at an earlier campaign event "I don't think we should be using plastic straws anymore" in restaurants, although it's unclear from the full clip of the former vice president's remarks whether he endorses full prohibition.

San Francisco, where Harris was district attorney, is the largest city in the U.S. to ban plastic straws. Indeed, it has one of the most sweeping straw ordinances on the books. The city bans plastic straws, as well as other single-use items like stirrer sticks and cocktail swords, from being given out for free or being sold in grocery stores.

President Donald Trump and his campaign have been avidly pro-plastic straw ever since they became a political issue.

"I do think we have bigger problems," said Trump when asked about whether we should ban plastic straws in July 2019. "It's interesting about plastic straws. You have a little straw, but what about the plates, the wrappers & everything else that are much bigger and made of the same material?"

His campaign also sells Trump-branded plastic straws, claiming that "liberal paper straws don't work."

The inferior quality of paper straws is actually a rare point of bipartisan agreement between the Trump and Biden/Harris camps. In her extended remarks at CNN's town hall, Harris candidly acknowledged that the replacements for plastic straws did not work all that well, noting that "if you don't gulp it down immediately it starts to bend and then, you know, the little thing catches it."

The 2020 presidential race doesn't give libertarians much to be hopeful for. On the issue of plastic straws, at least, there is no equivalence between the two parties.