WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Vice President Kamala Harris reportedly left White House officials “perplexed” by her performance on her first foreign policy trip to Guatemala and Mexico.
- Her aim was to address the root cause of migration, but the media attention continued to focus on her unwillingness to visit the US border herself.
- She also urged those planning to migrate to “not come,” prompting criticism from the left.
Several White House officials were reportedly left “perplexed” by Vice President Kamala Harris’s performance on her first foreign policy trip.
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond joined the vice president on her trip to Guatemala and Mexico and shared his views on CNN New Day on Wednesday morning.
President Joe Biden assigned Harris as the point person of the border crisis back in March.
Harris’s team declared that they would first target the systemic issues at play in the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, from which the majority of southern border migrants come. Her aim was to identify the root cause and solve it, instead of focusing on the symptoms, which seemed a reasonable and effective approach.
Still, Harris has long received criticism for her unwillingness to visit the border as Vice President.
Perhaps she dismissed the “grand gesture” of a border visit as unnecessary political theater, but her refusal to “play the part” still led to the likely criticism from all sides, including the left.
Diamond began, “The Vice President saw this trip as an opportunity to burnish her foreign policy credentials after entering office with very little foreign policy experience. She also hoped to make real progress on the root causes of migration from Central America.”
Diamond stated that the trip showed some definite progress, but this seemed to be overshadowed by some of her answers to the expected border questions, which “left some of the administration officials perplexed, and the vice president’s team frustrated.”
During an interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt, Harris claimed, “We have been to the border,” which either suggests administration officials or her own visit before taking office. But Holt responded that she herself, as Vice President, has not been at the border. She then responded that she also hasn’t been to Europe, prompting even more criticism.
“She equated the question about the border with Europe,” Diamond pointed out.
The Vice President also drew criticism from Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, after she expressly told those planning to migrate “do not come.”