We did it, Joe! After weeks of pressure, Vice President Kamala Harris is finally going to visit the US-Mexico border. The administration’s border czar will travel to El Paso, Texas, on Friday.
‘Earlier this year, the President asked the Vice President to oversee our diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras,’ VP spokeswoman Symone Sanders said in a statement Wednesday. ‘As a part of this ongoing work, the Vice President traveled to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month and will travel to El Paso on Friday.’
Harris long resisted taking the trip down south, but her position became increasingly untenable with each disastrous interview and skyrocketing numbers of illegal border crossers. She referred to a potential border visit as a ‘grand gesture.’ The VP then caused an uproar when she dismissed NBC’s Lester Holt’s reminder that she had not been to the border: ‘And I haven’t been to Europe. I mean, I don’t understand the point you are making.’ She would later snap at a Univision reporter who asked if she had a specific date in mind for a border visit. Around the same time, Customs and Border Patrol announced they encountered more than 180,000 illegal border crossers in May.
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff insisted that his wife’s decision to go to El Paso was not influenced by politics, saying in an interview, ‘Kamala Harris is not driven by any political issues or political pressure.’ It’s hard to believe, however, that the string of negative headlines about Harris’s refusal to visit the border had nothing to do with the seemingly quickly scheduled trip.
Let’s also not forget that Donald Trump announced last week that he would visit the border next Wednesday with Texas governor Greg Abbott. The White House could hardly recover from the optics of the former president going to the border ahead of the official in charge of stemming the surge of illegal immigration. Trump indeed took credit for Harris’s trip, asserting, ‘After months of ignoring the crisis at the Southern Border, it is great that we got Kamala Harris to finally go.’
In some ways, Harris is the victim in this political disaster. The Biden White House put her in charge of a crisis that they created. By reversing many of Trump’s border security measures and canceling his agreements with Central American countries, they’ve taken the vast majority of solutions off the table. Even the Guatemalan president said ahead of Harris’s trip to his country that the Biden administration is to blame for the surge of migration. Harris is admittedly between a rock and a hard place.
But Harris also has herself to blame for much of the backlash. She tried to ignore the situation entirely for months and then, when she finally decided to address it, opted for snark and gaslighting. I understand Harris is probably bitter that Joe Biden is stumbling his way through the position she wanted for herself, but her ineffectiveness in the number two spot is not making a future run for president any easier, that’s for sure.