Air Force Two winged a path from the Swamp hoping for a soft landing in El Paso, TX, so that the border Czar could visit and critically assess the situation. It was a surprising trip southwest for Vice President Kamala Harris, who for 93 days shirked her only high-profile assignment since being installed as the executive in charge, previously equating a non-visit to Texas with not traveling to Europe. Harris was accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX).
After several unhelpful comments made by Harris leading up to today’s seemingly contrived outing, unpleasant fodder blossomed like a desert cactus after a monsoon shower. Republicans, beleaguered citizens, and a Democrat congressman from Texas made a few unwelcome remarks and comparisons accusing Harris of letting former President Trump get her goat.
As Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) commented:
“she [Harris] demonstrated strong leadership by doing not a damn thing, by going nowhere near the border, by doing everything she could to hide from the crisis. Now, frankly, that’s the same thing Joe Biden is doing. She’s emulating the president in hiding from the crisis, and so suddenly former President Trump is going to the border, and they realize ‘oh crap we gotta do something.’”
Although the timing was suspicious, coming on the heels of Trump accepting Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s invitation, most folks were happy that someone in the Biden administration finally paid attention.
Close, But This Ain’t Horseshoes
Harris arrived in El Paso and was greeted by protesters holding signs with sayings such as “you are too late” and chanting “Que Mala,” which means “how mean.” A most clever handmade sign told the vice president she’d made a wrong turn as Europe was in the other direction. There were no “Bienvenidos” banners anywhere to be seen.
One Border Patrol official speaking to Fox News criticized the VP: “If Vice President Harris truly wanted to assess the situation at the border, she’d head to McAllen and sites along the Rio Grande Valley. It will be worth seeing if this trip extends beyond a rubber stamp of ‘I visited the border.’”
The veep spoke with reporters, admonishing those who asked why it took her so long to swoop in and bristling as she pointed out that she was following the plan of getting to the “root causes” of the crisis. She explained that visiting Guatemala and Mexico was step one in the long and arduous process of fixing the current situation in America. Following the brief question and answer session, she went on her merry way; taking a short tour of El Paso’s Border Patrol detention centers, but avoiding the hardest hit locations of McAllen and Del Rio in the Rio Grande sector. According to Governor Abbott, shirking of the tiny border towns was akin to mission fail. Abbott had previously warned:
“Texas residents have had their homes broken into, property damaged, and guns pointed at their heads as cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers profit off the Biden Administration’s reckless open-border policies.”
Symone Sanders, Harris’s spokeswoman, prompted reporters the night before the visit: “The vice president’s trip to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this year was about the root causes, and this border visit is about the effects. Both trips will inform the administration’s root causes strategy.”
The long-awaited border trip may have assuaged people’s feelings of being lost in the presidential shuffle and relegated to last on the list of priorities. But others are convinced Harris would have stayed hidden had Trump not butted in and accepted the governor’s invite to visit the border. Regardless of the suspect scheduling, some say the Biden administration and the border Czar are not leading, but following the previous administration. And that could account for the bumpy landing and cold reception in El Paso.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.