Vice President Kamala Harris bristled with a reporter Friday in El Paso, Texas during her first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border as the administration’s point person, claiming this is not her “first trip” to the border.
“Well, it’s not my first trip,” Harris said. “I’ve been to the border many times. So, the important aspect of this visit is leading this visit after the work that we did in Guatemala. … I’ve said back in March I’m going to come to the border. This is not a new plan, but the reality of it is that we have to deal with causes, and we have to deal with the effects.”
“Being in Guatemala, being in Mexico, talking with Mexico, frankly, as a partner on the issue, was about addressing the causes and then coming to the border, at the advice and the indication of the congresswoman, is about looking at the effects of what we have seen happening in Central America,” the vice president continued, noting she is “glad to be” in attendance at the border and “it was always the plan” to visit.
REPORTER: "Why did you decide that right now was the right time to make your first trip to the border?"
KAMALA: "Well, it's not my first trip… I said back in March I was going to come to the border so this is not a new plan." pic.twitter.com/haqOam6Xvb
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 25, 2021
It took Harris about three months to visit the border since being appointed by President Joe Biden to lead the White House’s response to the border crisis. Her remarks contradict those in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, in which she said the fact that she hasn’t been to Europe provides a rationale for her domestic absence.
“We’re going to the border. We’ve been to the border,” Harris told Holt, but when pressed with the fact that she has not been to the border, she quipped, “And I haven’t been to Europe. I don’t understand the point that you’re making.”
Harris touched down in El Paso Friday morning. She was joined by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Illinois Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin, and Democrat Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar.
The vice president traveled to Guatemala earlier this month in order to find out the “root causes of migration,” though has received flack for not going to the border during the major surge. There were more than 180,000 border encounters in May from 160 countries. Harris announced her border visit more than a week after former President Donald Trump announced he would be visiting.