A day after former President Donald Trump known as out the Biden administration on scrambling to beat his deliberate visit to the border subsequent week by sending Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday, second gentleman Doug Emhoff got here out to deny that the trip was introduced beneath political duress.
The White Home on Wednesday, 91 days after President Biden tapped Harris to deal with the escalating disaster on the border, introduced that she would accompany Homeland Safety Secretary Alejando Mayorakas on a trip to El Paso, Texas.
It got here greater than per week after the previous president revealed final Tuesday that he would journey to the border on June 30 with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to evaluation what he mentioned the Biden administration had changed into an “unmitigated catastrophe zone” of “super destruction and demise.”
Emhoff, in an interview with NBC Information, touted the Biden administration’s line that Friday was simply the suitable time for Harris to go and had nothing to do with Trump’s upcoming visit.
“That is simply the subsequent section in coordination with different components of the administration,” Emhoff mentioned. “Kamala Harris is just not pushed by any political points or political strain.”
However that’s not how Trump noticed the announcement.
“After months of ignoring the disaster on the Southern Border, it’s nice that we received Kamala Harris to lastly go and see the super destruction and demise that they’ve created — a direct results of Biden ending my very robust however honest Border insurance policies,” Trump mentioned in a press release Wednesday.
“If Governor Abbott and I weren’t going there subsequent week, she would have by no means gone!” he continued.
White Home press secretary Jen Psaki was pressed concerning the timing of Harris’ visit in the course of the each day briefing Wednesday.
“What I’m conveying to you is that, whereas as part of her project, she has after all hosted quite a few bilateral engagements, she’s visited the Northern Triangle, she’s made quite a few bulletins about how to tackle root causes,” Psaki mentioned, including that “she was going to assess with the Division of Homeland Safety and with the administration when it was the suitable time to go.”
Requested point-blank whether or not the White Home was dispatching Harris to the border earlier than Trump’s visit, she mentioned no.
“We made an evaluation inside our authorities about when it was an applicable time for her to go to the border,” Psaki mentioned.
Harris has come beneath withering criticism from Democrats and Republicans over her failure to visit the border, and in current interviews she dismissed a border cease as nothing however a “grand gesture” and famous that she additionally hasn’t been to Europe.
The Biden administration, instantly upon getting into the White Home, started rolling again a lot of Trump’s border insurance policies and opened the floodgates for unlawful immigrants from Central America and Mexico — together with 1000’s of unaccompanied youngsters — to come to the US.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) agreed with Trump that the Biden administration was taking part in catch-up.
“Little doubt in my thoughts that Vice President Harris’s long-overdue visit to the U.S.-Mexico border was prompted by President Trump’s resolution to visit the border subsequent week,” he posted in a tweet. “The Biden/Harris workforce couldn’t afford to enable Trump to visit the border first. Nice job, President Trump.”