In March, President Joe Biden tasked Vice President Kamala Harris with taking a leading role in responding to the surge in immigration at the nation’s southern border.
Despite her assignment, however, she appeared reluctant to actually visit the border — and her reaction to the issue during a recent interview suggests she still does not take the criticism seriously. During an NBC News interview on Tuesday, host Lester Holt pressed Harris on whether she had any plans to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I don’t understand the point”
“I — at some point, you know, we are going to the border,” she began her rambling response. “We’ve been to the border. So this whole, this whole, this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border.”
.@LesterHoltNBC pushes Harris on the border including why she hasn’t visited.
Harris: “We’ve been the border.”
Holt: “YOU haven’t been to the border.”
Harris: “…..and I haven’t been to Europe. I don’t understand the point you’re making.”
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) June 8, 2021
Of course, Fox News reported that there are no official records of her visiting the border as vice president, and even Holt noted the apparent inaccuracy of her response.
Harris attempted to change the subject in response, asserting: “I — and I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t, I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.”
Echoing prior statements about her effort to address the “root causes” of illegal immigration, the vice president pointed to her efforts in that regard.
“Puts people in an awkward spot”
“Listen, I care about what’s happening at the border,” Harris said, stressing that she recently visited Guatemala because she is focused on “dealing with the root causes of migration.”
Although she traveled to several Latin American nations this week, including a meeting with Mexico’s president, some critics had a problem with the scope and timing of her tour.
“She went to Mexico immediately following the Sunday midterm elections which kind of puts people in an awkward spot because they’re up to their eyeballs trying to get through all of that and yet having to attend to a visit from one of the most significant partners in the region,” said Sergio de la Pena, who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Western Hemisphere affairs under former President Donald Trump.
De la Pena went on to assert: “Whenever you do visits like this, you take a look at what issues are taking place in the partner nation she wants to go visit, or whatever country you want to go visit — so why would you show up immediately after an election on Sunday for a visit on Tuesday?”
In a statement after the vice president’s visit, an unnamed Mexican official asserted that her arrival was “not ideal.”