Amid speculation that someone other than Joe Biden has long been calling the shots at the White House, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez made the surprising admission that his meetings with Vice President Kamala Harris on migration issues went so well that he actually referred to her as “president,” as Fox News reports.
Following Harris’ in-person visit that was part of a three-day trip to Mexico and Guatemala, Obrador was effusive in his praise, telling reporters “It was such a good meeting that I called her ‘president,’” as the New York Post also noted.
The Mexican leader also characterized Harris – who has faced intense criticism at home over her seeming lack of action in her role as Biden administration point person for the migrant crisis at the southern border – as an “extraordinary woman” who has helped usher in “a completely new phase” in relations between the two nations.
Still defiant in her refusal to visit her own country’s southern border to see the deteriorating conditions on the ground brought about by administration policies, Harris ventured to Mexico and Guatemala to address what she believes are the “root causes” of mass migration, including climate change, food insecurity, and political instability.
Though Obrador appears optimistic about Harris’ abilities, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei was rather less so amid his own meeting with the American vice president, publicly blaming Biden administration policies and “lukewarm” rhetoric for exacerbating the influx of migrants surging at the U.S. border.
Emphasizing Biden’s promises about family reunification and pledges to halt deportations of unaccompanied minors as primary drivers of the current wave of migration, Giammattei emphatically opined that with regard to possible solutions, “We are not on the same side of the coin. It is obvious.”
Echoing Obrador’s satisfaction with the tone and tenor of their meetings upon her return stateside, Harris touted what she viewed as the fruits of her mission, saying she was “successful in making progress” and specifically mentioning a $130 million federal investment in Mexican labor reform and protection as well as partnerships to combat human trafficking and smuggling of migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, as Fox News noted.
Even so, Harris continues to be confronted by a growing chorus of critics frustrated with her obstinance about visiting the border and her apparent disinterest in tackling the abhorrent conditions in which migrants are housed or the unsustainable strain being placed on law enforcement in affected areas.
White House insiders have suggested that Harris is attempting to avoid direct association with the border crisis due to fears that it might hinder her future political aspirations, but unfortunately for the vice president, escalating demands for accountability on this issue of critical national importance aren’t likely to go silent anytime soon.