The White House said Tuesday that Vice President Kamala Harris might eventually visit the country’s border with Mexico, but it won’t be because Republicans want the Biden administration’s border czar to see the area for herself following a months-long crisis.
On Tuesday during her daily media briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki divulged that Harris might someday visit the border, but said it will be on her terms. Noting Harris’ upcoming controversial interview with Lester Holt from NBC News, one reporter asked Psaki if Harris would ever show her face at the border.
“Republicans and conservatives are, you know, going crazy on Twitter. Sending pictures — sending video of her interview with [Holt]. You know, saying, ‘I’ve not been to Europe, either,’” the reporter stated. “Does the president think there is a scenario in which she should visit the border?”
“The mounting criticism from conservatives, would that ever factor into a decision to send her down there? I mean, don’t they have a point that if she has this task in front of her, should she not see the end cause as well as the root cause of migration?” the reporter followed up.
“At some point, she may go to the border. I don’t have any trips to preview for you, or predict — or a timeline for that,” Psaki said. “What I would reiterate is that her assignment was to work with countries and leaders in the Northern Triangle to address root causes, address corruption, ensure we’re working together to address humanitarian concerns.”
“I will say we’re not taking advice from former President Trump or most of the Republicans who are criticizing us on this, given they were all sitting there while we created this problem we walked into — both at the border — and with the movement of migration that has been growing over the last year,” she said.
“So, we’re not taking out guidance and advice from them, but if it is constructive and it moves the ball forward for [Harris] to visit the border, she certainly might do that,” Psaki concluded.
Harris was appointed as the envoy to the border during President Joe Biden’s second full month in office, after it had become apparent that what was occurring in the area was a full-scale crisis. In nearly three months, Harris has still not gotten close to a border detention facility. Such facilities have become cramped temporary homes for children who in many cases were compelled by adults to cross the border.
Harris was pressed on the issue by Holt in an interview slated to air Tuesday evening. A preview of the interview shows Harris laugh off a question about why she will not visit the border.
“We have to deal with what’s happening at the border.”@VP Kamala Harris spoke exclusively with @LesterHoltNBC on her first trip overseas, how the administration is addressing the immigration crisis, and if she plans to visit the southern border herself. pic.twitter.com/sA4We7peeR
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 8, 2021
“The question that has come up and you heard it here and you’ll hear it again I’m sure, is, ‘Why not visit the border? Why not see what Americans are seeing in this crisis?’” Holt asked.
“Well, we are going to the border,” Harris said. “We have to deal with what’s happening at the border, there’s no question about that. That’s not a debatable point. But we have to understand that there’s a reason people are arriving at our border and ask what is that reason and then identify the problem so we can fix it.”
Later, Holt got to the point.
“Do you have any plans to visit the border?” he asked.
“At some point, you know, we are going to the border,” Harris shot back. “We’ve been to the border. So this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border.”
“You haven’t been to the border,” Holt pointed out.
“And I haven’t been to Europe,” Harris responded with an awkward cackle. “And I mean — I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.”
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