Fresh off a loss in the senate with their far-reaching election overhaul bill, the White House is looking for a win in sending Vice President Kamala Harris to the border, after almost 100 days of the administration refusing to acknowledge the importance of a visit. Harris will visit the border along with Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
Speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed questions from Fox News' Peter Doocy, and others, as to why she has now decided to visit the border despite months of claiming this was not her job.
"About today's announcement," Doocy asked, "why is the Vice President visiting the border this week when earlier this month she dismissed a trip like that, saying it would be a 'grand gesture.'"
They discussed an NBC interview where Harris, Psaki said, noted that she would be "open to going to the border at an appropriate time."
"She was talking about how she hadn't been to the border, but she hadn't been to Europe, either, so does she think these two things are the same?"
Psaki said again that Harris had previously said that she would be "open to going to the border at the appropriate time."
"As part of her assignment," Psaki said, Harris "has also hosted a number of bilateral engagements. She's visited the northern triangle, she's made a number of announcements about how to address root causes that she was going to assess with the Department of Homeland Security and with the administration when it was the appropriate time to go.
"I will note," Psaki said, "that we're at this point because we have made a great deal of progress. And if you look just to a couple of months ago when 6,000 children were in border patrol facilities, we are now at the point where there is far less than 1,000. If you look to just a couple of months when there were children waiting in border patrol facilities for more than 100 hours and they were certainly overcrowded, now it's less than 30 hours.
"In April there were 22,000 kids in HHS facilities, and now there are 14,000. Is there still more work to do? Absolutely. That's the purview of Secretary Mayorkas, but it's important that every component of our government is coordinated."
Doocy asked if Harris' border visit had anything to do with former President Trump having announced his own intentions to visit the border.
"We made an assessment within our government about when it was an appropriate for her to go to the border," Psaki said.
President Kamala Harris will be visiting the US-Mexico border on Friday, June 25. This is only a few days before the planned visit of former President Trump, who intends to tour the border with Governor Greg Abbott.
Trump issued a statement in response to Harris' announced visit, saying "After months of ignoring the crisis at the Southern Border, it is great that we got Kamala Harris to finally go and see the tremendous destruction and death that they've created—a direct result of Biden ending my very tough but fair Border policies.
"Harris and Biden were given the strongest Border in American history. And now, it is by far the worst in American history. If Governor Abbott and I weren’t going there next week, she would have never gone!"
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