The escalating humanitarian and national security crisis at the southern border has shown no signs of slowing, and over two weeks ago, President Joe Biden tapped his second in command to take the lead on administration efforts to address the situation.
However, as the Washington Examiner reports, since being charged with tacking the challenges posed by the migrant surge, Vice President Kamala Harris has displayed startlingly little movement on the matter, despite making a series of highly-publicized trips away from the nation’s capital to address a host of other policy initiatives.
The true scope of Harris’ role on solving the border crisis has been the subject of conflicting statements from the White House since it was first announced by the president in March. Though Biden initially claimed that when it come to the record-setting migrant surge, “when [Harris] speaks, she speaks for me,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki later appeared to clarify the vice president’s responsibilities, stating that she is only tasked with tackling the “root causes” of the problem, as the New York Post noted.
Even so, it was assumed by many that Harris would travel to the southern border to gain a first-hand perspective of conditions on the ground, yet she has not announced any plans to make such a journey, despite traveling to at least three different states in recent days, and has not held a press conference to discuss proposed actions in response to the crisis.
During a trip to Connecticut, Harris touted the childcare assistance policies included in the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill recently passed by Congress. She also traveled home to California over the Easter holiday, during which time she promoted the president’s massive infrastructure plan currently under consideration back in D.C. At another stop in Chicago, Harris outlined the administration’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts, promoted widespread vaccination, and made a publicized stop at a local bakery to grab a piece of cake, as the Examiner noted.
Republican condemnation of Harris’ ongoing silence on the border crisis has been building in recent weeks, with GOP National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel writing in a Fox News opinion piece:
Given the scale of the crisis – exemplified by children being thrown over walls and the clear potential of a COVID-19 super-spreading event – one would expect the vice president to immediately jump on Air Force Two and get to the border.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich also slammed the administration’s inaction, claiming that Harris and other White House officials have failed to respond to his invitation for the vice president to tour his state’s border region and saying, “I guess if you were a philosopher you would say no response is a very loud response, because we’ve not received any response.”
Adding to the chorus of criticism was Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who demanded that Harris attend a classified FBI and CIA briefing related to two Yemeni nationals on the terror watch list who were reportedly caught illegally crossing the southern border earlier this year, opining, “I know she hasn’t been to the border. I don’t know if she’s ever been briefed on this…this is about the security of our nation.”
With a majority of Americans now disapproving of the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis, it remains to be seen how much longer Harris will be able to evade the responsibilities delegated to her by the commander in chief and shirk accountability for the disaster that continues to unfold.