President Joe Biden first tasked Kamala Harris with addressing the “root causes” of mass migration to the U.S. from Central America back in March, but the vice president has yet to actually visit America’s southern border to see the growing crisis for herself.
While Harris’ absence at the border has provided her Republican critics with plenty of fodder, it doesn’t appear to be that big of a deal for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). According to Fox News, Pelosi asserted Thursday that Harris is “well-suited” for the job and said she’s fully confident that the VP and the Biden administration as a whole will be successful in handling the situation at the border.
The speaker’s remarks come in stark contrast to criticism leveled against Harris by Republicans like Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who wrote in a recent letter to Biden that Harris’ response to the crisis has been “absolutely abysmal” and that she should be replaced in her leadership role on the issue, according to a separate report from Fox.
For Pelosi’s part, the topic of Harris’ take on the border came up during her weekly press conference. There, according to a transcript, a reporter made note of the “deterioration” of the situation at the U.S.–Mexico line, and wondered if Vice President Harris was in the “best position” to address and “fix” it.
“Yeah,” the speaker said before going on to list one of three prongs she feels are key to solving the border crisis. “What are the roots of this immigration? And that’s where the vice president has been tasked to, I don’t know about visit physically, but communicate directly with the governments of the Northern Triangle — El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.”
Pelosi added of Harris: “I think she is very well-suited to do that. Roots.”
The California congresswoman went on to lambast the Trump administration and praise Biden over their respective actions on the border.
“As you all know, yesterday, the president had a bipartisan meeting of the congressional leadership,” Pelosi said Thursday, according to the transcript. “It was very positive. I think the tone of it was very appropriate to the important work that we have to do. Very proud of what the president is presenting: a big, bold plan to Build Back Better for our country.
Of course, not everyone is on Pelosi’s side here. According to Fox, AG Brnovich said Biden and Harris’ lack of action on the border amounts to “a slap in the face to Arizonans who helped elect you both to the highest offices in the land.”
Even Democrats are growing weary of the White House on the border issue. “She’s playing it, in my opinion, very safe by not dealing with the border,” Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat who represents a border district, told the Los Angeles Times.
Last week, Democrat Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema said in a radio interview that she’s waiting on the White House “to take bold action to actually address these concerns,” as The Hill reported. “The reality is, this is a crisis and the federal government must do more to address this surge of migrants who are coming to the border with increasing numbers each year,” Sinema added.
While Pelosi may be shrugging her shoulders, it looks like even members of the speaker’s own caucus aren’t willing to let Harris off the hook. And for good reason.