JOE Biden’s White House is reportedly “perplexed” after Vice President Kamala Harris’ combative remarks on the border crisis during her first international trip to Mexico and Guatemala.
The vice president is facing criticism from both the right and left for her comments during the trip, in which she laughed off the fact she has not yet visited the US border and forcefully told migrants “do not come.”
Read our Kamala Harris live blog for the latest news and updates…
Harris met with President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday[/caption]
Biden’s White House is said to be ‘perplexed’ by her comments[/caption]
Harris, who had little foreign policy experience before taking office, had said the trip would focus on the “root causes” of migration to the US and touted it herself as a “success.”
She has dismissed a trip to the border as a “grand gesture” and despite increasing pressure from Republicans, said she won’t be “playing the part.”
White House officials had also hoped for a successful trip but feared that her answers to questions from journalists have overshadowed any progress made.
Insiders told CNN that Harris’ trip had left her team “frustrated” and the White House “perplexed” as to why the VP was not more prepared to answer questions on the border, Mediaite reports.
The White House fears Harris’ comments have ‘overshadowed’ any progress[/caption]
The meeting with President Obrador was Harris’ first international trip[/caption]
It comes after the VP was slammed for laughing during a difficult question in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt on Tuesday.
During a sit down with the Vice President, Holt mentioned criticism from Republicans for not visiting the US-Mexico border.
Holt asked Harris whether or not she has plans to visit the US-Mexico border.
“I – at some point – you know – we are going to the border. We’ve been to the border,” Harris replied.
“So this whole – this whole – this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border.”
When she was reminded by the journalist that she has not personally visited the border, Harris laughed and said, “I haven’t been to Europe.”
“And I mean, I don’t – I don’t understand the point that you’re making,” she said, before insisting, “I’m not discounting the importance of the border.”
Harris laughed as she was asked about the border[/caption]
She claimed there is no “quick fix” to stem the migrant surge just hours before meeting with Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
“The real work is going to take time to manifest itself. Will it be worth it? Yes. Will it take some time? Yes,” she said.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz mocked Harris after the comments and claimed that she displayed no willingness to “fix the problem” at the border during her trip to meet with leaders of Guatemala and Mexico.
Cruz went onto allege that Biden and Harris could fix the issues at the border tomorrow, “by ending catch and release and be re-instating the remain in Mexico policy.”
Harris had also laughed two months ago when she was asked if she has plans to visit the border.
“Not today,” Harris responded to the question before bursting out into laughter outside of Air Force One. “But I have before, and I’m sure I will again.”
Harris had also received criticism from the left for taking a hard-line approach to migrants in her comments and telling them not to attempt the US border crossing.
Harris is tasked with leading the response to the surge in migrants[/caption]
Asylum-seeking migrants board a Border Patrol bus after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico[/caption]
Rep Alexendria Ocasio-Cortez said that Harris comments were “disappointing to see.”
“First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival. Second, the US spent decades contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America,” she wrote on Twitter.
“We can’t help set someone’s house on fire and then blame them for fleeing.”
Harris has been put in charge of managing the crisis at the country’s southern border and leading the White House’s efforts to address the increase of illegal migration to the US.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that she expects Harris will visit the border “at some point.”
“What her focus has been, what the assignment is specifically, is to work with leaders in the Northern Triangle,” Psaki said.
“She’s on a trip doing exactly that, exactly what the president asked her to do.
“Her focus of this trip is on meeting with leaders, having a discussion about how to address corruption, how to address root causes, how to work together to address humanitarian challenges in these countries.
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“That’s exactly what she’s doing on the ground and I’m sure she’ll report back to the president when she returns.”
Harris met with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei and Mexican premier Andrés Manuel López Obrador, discussing increased border security measures and how to address the causes of migration.
The White House has proposed to spend $4billion to address the “root causes of migration” in countries such as Guatemala and Honduras.