Vice President Kamala Harris is finally planning to visit the border so she can pretend to care — at least momentarily — about the immigration crisis that she has spent months ignoring.
The vice president is set to make the trip to El Paso on Friday, Fox News reports, after months of heavy criticism from Republicans for her apparent neglect.
It appears that Harris wants to get her critics to shut up by finally making the trip. Regardless of the sudden change of heart, her indifference to the crisis has been pretty well-established.
Just weeks ago, the vice president dismissed the notion of touring the border as a “grand gesture” while visiting Latin America on her first foreign trip. What made her change her mind?
Donald Trump has some ideas. The former president said in a statement that “she would never have gone!” if not for his upcoming visit to highlight the chaos unleashed by the Biden administration, Politico reported. Indeed, the border is out of control, with some 180,000 migrants apprehended in May and crossings at 20-year highs, according to ABC News.
Rather than confront the problem directly, Harris has spent months pointing at “root causes” driving migration from Central America. It was telling that her first trip on the crisis was to Guatemala instead of the Rio Grande.
The Central America trip received poor ratings, with White House insiders decrying it as a public relations disaster, as The Hill noted. In a widely mocked interview, Harris blurted out for no apparent reason that she had not been to Europe either when asked why she had not been to the border.
Biden equivocates on border
The VP’s reversal appears to show that the Biden administration is concerned about blowback over their handling of the border, which has received consistently low ratings in the polls. Most Americans blame Biden for the crisis, despite his and Harris’ efforts to blame Trump and climate change.
Biden also came around to acknowledging the massive spike in crime in America’s cities this week, suggesting that the White House is wary of trends that could help Republican reclaim Congress next year, the BBC reported.
While Harris is now taking a tiny step toward recognizing there is a problem at the border, the official position of the White House does not appear to have shifted. Her spokesperson, Symone Sanders, downplayed Friday’s border visit and conflated it with her trip to address “root causes” in Latin America in a statement to Politico.
It appears that Harris is trying to simultaneously look like she’s taking the border seriously without acknowledging there is a crisis there. It is, admittedly, a little confusing.
And it does not seem that Biden is changing his course of action, as he continues a purge of immigration enforcement and is expected to end one of the final remaining Trump-era immigration policies, Title 42, in the coming weeks, Axios reports.