‘Kamala Harris isn’t driven by any political issues or political pressure. She’s really just doing what the right thing is to do for this very important job that the president entrusted her with,’ Emhoff said to NBC News, in his first TV interview as second gentleman.
Trump said Wednesday that Harris would not have finally scheduled a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday unless he announced his own trip there next week.
Second gentleman Doug Emhoff denied his wife, Vice President Kamala Harris, was motivated to go to the U.S.-Mexico border Friday because former President Donald Trump will be in Texas next week
At an LGBTQ roundtable event Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris refused to answer questions about her border trip, which was announced earlier that day and scheduled for Friday, five days before former President Donald Trump also makes the trek
Former President Donald Trump sent out a statement Wednesday claiming that Vice President Kamala Harris was only going to the border because he was. ‘If Governor Abbott and I weren’t going there next week, she would have never gone!’
‘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,’ Trump said.
‘Harris and Biden were given the strongest Border in American history. And now, it is by far the worst in American history,’ he continued. ‘If Governor Abbott and I weren’t going there next week, she would have never gone!’
Harris announced Wednesday that she will head to the border after 90 days of criticism from Republicans and Democrats over her handling of the crisis, a bungled trip to the Northern Triangle and five straight months of increases in migrant crossings.
She refused to answer questions about the trip during a LGBTQ listening session Wednesday afternoon, including whether Trump’s forthcoming trip inspired her to go.
Emhoff was then asked by NBC’s Peter Alexander about the timing.
The second gentleman also offered that ‘noone wants to see anyone they love attacked or criticized.’
‘But that’s part of what she signed up for in this life of public service,’ he continued, adding that his wife is just ‘focused on the work.’
Vice President Kamala Harris (right) attends a D.C. Pride parade with her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff (left), earlier this month
The White House’s border trip announcement came eight days after Trump announced he accepted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s invitation to survey the southern border the Lone Star State shares with Mexico – and where the majority of encounters occur.
President Joe Biden put Harris in charge of dealing with the root causes of the migration crisis, which quickly turned her into the person to blame for the spike in migrants coming into the U.S.
Harris will make a trip to the border in El Paso, Texas alongside Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, her office announced Wednesday.
The vice president will beat Trump to the region by five days.
Just two days ahead of the trip, 21 House Republicans, led by Colorado’s Lauren Boebert, introduced a bill to censure Biden over his failure to secure the U.S. border in his more than five months as president.
‘President Biden passed the buck to cackling Kamala, when he tapped Ms. Harris as border czar. Her work on the border is nonexistence, it’s a joke – and even she laughs. But it’s not funny,’ Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert said in announcing the censure on Wednesday.
‘This administration has not lifted a finger to end this crisis and secure our southern border,’ she continued. ‘They must be held accountable.
He claimed in a statement Wednesday that Harris is only giving into pressure to visit the border now because he announced his own impending trip.
About a dozen members of the Republican Study Committee, the largest group of House Republicans, will also join Trump on the trip, Politico reported.
Immigrants walk toward border patrol after crossing the Rio Grande into the U.S. on Monday
Representative Jim Banks, the head of the Republican Study Group and a lawmaker joining Trump in Texas said: ‘The dual trips offer a great split-screen.’
‘President Trump is the greatest immigration president of our lifetime who devoted four years to fixing the border to protect Americans’ lives and livelihoods,’ he wrote in a Wednesday statement. ‘Kamala Harris is the border czar for an administration that created a national embarrassment and has taken no effort to stop it.’
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a briefing Wednesday that the trip is part of a ‘coordinated effort’ to address ‘root causes’ of mass migration from Northern Triangle countries to the U.S.
‘Earlier this year, as you all know, the president asked the vice president to oversee our diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of migration from El Salvador, to Guatemala and Honduras and as a part of this work she recently traveled to Guatemala and Mexico last month. This trip to the border on Friday will be a part of this effort,’ Psaki said.
She also reiterated previous comments where she and Harris have both said that the vice president would make a trip to the border when the timing was ‘appropriate.’
Harris’ senior advisor and Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders said in a statement on the visit: ‘Vice President Harris will travel to El Paso, Texas on Friday, June 25,’ ‘She will be accompanied by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.’
A migrant family seeking asylum arrives on U.S. soil after crossing the Rio Grande on June 19, 2021 in Roma, Texas
‘Vice President Harris will travel to El Paso, Texas on Friday, June 25,’ Harris’ senior advisor and Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders said in a statement on the visit on Wednesday. ‘She will be accompanied by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.’
‘Earlier this year, the President asked the Vice President to oversee our diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras,’ she continued. ‘As a part of this ongoing work, the Vice President traveled to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month and will travel to El Paso on Friday.’
Republicans have slammed Harris for not making the trip yet.
‘It reminds me of that old show, ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?’ She’ll go everywhere except the border because she’s afraid of what’s going on down there, and they have no solutions,’ Republican Sen. Ted Cruz told Fox & Friends.
Harris took her first trip abroad earlier this month to Guatemala and Mexico to meet with government and community leaders about the migrants flowing into the U.S.
In an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt from Guatemala, Harris was asked why she hadn’t visited the border. ‘Why not see what Americans are seeing in this crisis?’ the newsman asked.
She first answered that why there’s ‘no question’ about the White House having to deal with what’s happening at the border ‘we have to understand that there’s a reason people are arriving at our border and ask what is that reason and then identify the problem so we can fix it.’
Holt then asked if Harris had any plans to visit the border.
‘At some point, you know, we are going to the border. We’ve been to the border. So this whole thing about the border, we’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border,’ she responded.
This chart shows how 2021 border crossings – pictured in blue – rocketed on crossings made in 2020, represented by the brown line (2018 is pictured in gray, with 2019 in orange)
This graph shows the number of migrants caught by the Office of Field Operation (OFO) and US Border Patrol agents in April and May
Holt pointed out, ‘You haven’t been to the border.’
‘And I haven’t been to Europe,’ the vice president said. ‘And I mean, I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.’
The response was widely panned.
Harris later snapped at Univision reporter Ilia Calderon, the day after she returned from the trip, telling her ‘I’ve not finished,’ as Calderon pressed when there might be a border trip.
Harris has been given seven roles in Biden’s administration – including the border crisis
‘I’ve said I’m going to the border. And also, if we are going to deal with the problems at the border, we have to deal with the problems that cause people to go to the border – to flee to the border. And that is the root causes,’ Harris said, justifying her first foreign trip being to Guatemala and Mexico.
Biden has loaded Harris down with seven jobs – including running point on migration.
On Monday, Harris was tasked with selling Biden’s Child Tax Credit, with a trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In early June, the vice president received her fifth and sixth jobs, as the president asked her to go on a vaccine education tour and handle the administration’s efforts to protect voting rights.
Harris was on Capitol Hill Tuesday and presided over Senate Democrats’ failed vote to start debate on a voting rights measure.
She’s also handling the issues of broadband and space and also leading a pro-union taskforce that would take a ‘whole-of-government approach to empower workers.’
In late March, Biden announced he had tapped Harris to lead the effort to stem migration coming from the Northern Triangle countries – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – and up through Mexico.
Harris, he said, ‘agreed to lead our diplomatic effort to work with those nations.’
Very quickly Harris became a target for Republicans as border crossings soared and she didn’t travel to the border to see the conditions on the ground.
In mid-April, Psaki said the ‘confusion’ surrounding Harris’ role with the migrant crisis is ‘perplexing,’ arguing immigration policy has never been a ‘one-woman’ job.
Psaki also pointed out that Biden, as vice president, had essentially played the same role during the Obama years.
Migrant embrace relatives in ‘Hugs, No Walls’ at the border between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico on June 19, 2021