During her long overdue – but geographically misguided – trip to the border on Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris attempted to turn the tables in response to reporters’ questions and blame the ongoing crisis on former President Donald Trump in a move that drew swift condemnation from a range of observers, as Fox News reported.
Appearing in El Paso, Texas at a press conference following her visit to a migrant processing center there, Harris tried her best to convert the event into a platform from which to attack the prior administration’s hard-line stance on illegal immigration.
When the first journalist to pose a question to the vice president asked about her decision to travel to El Paso, nearly 1,000 miles away from the Rio Grande Valley where the bulk of the illegal crossings have been occurring, Harris pivoted to criticism of Trump instead of answering directly, according to the Washington Examiner.
“So first of all, what is happening here in El Paso really is, in many ways, highlights many facets on the issue of immigration,” Harris said, adding, “It is here in El Paso that the previous administration’s child separation policy as unveiled, and so we’ve seen the disastrous effects of that right here in this region. It is here, El Paso, that the ‘Return to Mexico’ policy from the previous administration was implemented.”
Earlier on Friday, Harris heaped additional blame on the Trump administration by suggesting that the Biden team had “inherited a tough situation,” and claiming that “in five months, we’ve made progress.”
It did not take long for commentators to start pointing out the absurdity of Harris’ deflections, with journalist Julio Rosas explaining on Twitter that ever since the Biden administration began taking active steps to reverse key Trump-era immigration policies, border encounters have skyrocketed.
Conservative commentator Katie Pavlich pointed to White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s own statement that Harris went to El Paso precisely because that is where several Trump policies were first implemented as evidence that the administration has “zero interest in solving the problem, just reversing Trump.”
Lending further credence to the notion that Harris did not travel south for the purpose of gaining practical insight on the devastating effects of the migrant influx on local communities were remarks from Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), who said that a trip to El Paso was politically “safer” for Harris and that his constituents want to know why she continues to avoid the epicenter of the problem.
“If you want to get a real idea of what’s happening at the border, you’ve got to go where the hot spot is, and that is the lower Rio Grande, said Cuellar, adding, “I hope that she’ll go down 800-900 miles down the border sometime in the future.” Considering the cynical political calculus clearly informing Harris’ decisions these days, the chances of such a trip seem slim, indeed.