White House ‘Perplexed’ By Kamala Harris Performance on First Foreign Policy Trip: CNN
Unnamed White House “insiders” were left “perplexed” by the performance of Vice President Kamala Harris on her recent trip to Guatemala and Mexico to address the root causes of the immigration problems at the US Southern border.
This report comes from CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, who joined the vice president on her trip and shared his insights on CNN New Day Wednesday morning.
Early in this administration, President Joe Biden assigned Harris the unenviable task of ostensibly overseeing the hot-button political issue of the flow of migrants to the US-Mexico border. Harris’s team subsequently made clear that her focus would be on the systemic issues at play, focusing on the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, from which the majority of southern border migrants come. Solve the core issue, and not the symptoms, seems a critical component of a reasonable and effective approach.
Harris, however, has been a lightning rod for criticism from conservative media and politicians, who have been laser-focused on her unwillingness to visit the border since she took office.
One could argue that Harris refused to participate in what she has dismissed as a “grand gesture” of a border visit as unnecessary political theater, but her avoidance of the very same political theater has given fodder to her critics (who would likely criticize her regardless of what she said).
But Harris’s apparent dismissal of “playing the part” appears to have given rise to criticism from the left as well, or as the chyron read during the CNN segment read, “VP HARRIS TAKES CRITICISM FROM ALL SIDES IN FIRST FOREIGN TRIP.”
Diamond introduced the segment in a manner that won’t likely be well-received in the vice president’s press shop.
“The Vice President saw this trip as an opportunity to burnish her foreign policy credentials after entering office with very little foreign policy experience,” Diamond opened, adding, “She also hoped to make real progress on the root causes on migration from Central America.”
He then noted some success on the trip but then pivoted to focus on the touch of grey on the trip.
“There was certainly progress, but there are now concerns that some of that progress may have been overshadowed by her answers to some of these questions that her team knew that she would be facing,” he noted. “It’s left some of the administration officials perplexed, and the vice president’s team frustrated.”
Diamond then explained in a pre-produced package how Harris’s flat-footed answer on visiting the border during an interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt was not ideal. She claimed, “We have been to the border,” which suggests either officials of the Biden administration or perhaps her own visit before taking office, though Holt pushed back to remind the Vice President that she herself has not been. Her response noting that she also hasn’t been to Europe went viral.
Diamond expanded on the concerns from the White House in his package.
“Some administration officials are quietly perplexed about the Vice President’s answers to some questions, in particular the particular question she got from Lester Holt where she equated the question about the border with Europe. There was hope the trip would be a success, and in the end, they feel it may have been overshadowed by some of her answers to these questions,” Diamond reported.
The segment also mentioned a tweet from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that criticized Harris, notably telling those planning to migrate across Mexico “do not come,” ergo the “criticism from all sides” chyron.
Watch above via CNN.
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