Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to the southern border on Friday, more than three months after President Biden called her to lead the administration’s diplomatic response to the border wave.
As facilities overflowed and conditions grew dire, GOP lawmakers and even a few Democrats called on the vice president to head south. The White House fiercely repelled attacks by Republicans as Harris refused to engage in a border visit, saying it focused instead on the “root causes” of migration.
Harris’ border visit to El Paso, Texas, will come just days before former President Donald Trump makes his own trip, along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Trump took credit for prompting Harris to book a trip, saying in a statement that if he and Abbott “didn’t go next week, she never would have been!”
Instead of a visit to the border, here are some of the things the Vice President has turned her attention to over the past 92 days:
1. Visit Guatemala and Mexico
Harris earlier this month traveled to Guatemala on her first overseas visit since being appointed by Biden to lead the efforts. “I want to stress that the aim of our work is to help the Guatemalans find hope at home, at the same time, I want to be clear with the people of this region who are considering making the dangerous journey to the US-Mexico border – don’t come, don’t come, ”she told Guatemala.
HARRIS VISITS MIDDLE CRITICAL BORDER
She also met with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and the couple said they agreed to expand collaboration on a range of economic and security issues.
2. Virtual meeting with the countries of the North Triangle, offering them more money
In a virtual meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, Harris offered an additional $ 310 million to tackle food insecurity in the region. She said countries in the Northern Triangle, like Guatemala, had tried to recover from hurricanes, droughts and COVID-19 infections, conditions that Harris said caused many people to leave their homes during of the dangerous journey to the United States.
3. Announce the companies’ commitment to invest in the countries of the North Triangle
After a business roundtable, Harris announced in May that 12 businesses and organizations – including Mastercard, Microsoft, Nespresso and the World Economic Forum – have pledged to “support inclusive economic development.”
She said the strategy “will involve significant commitments of US government resources” and public-private partnerships.
4 welcoming Texas Democrats to the White House
Biden appealed to Harris to lead the administration’s efforts to tackle GOP-led voting restrictions. To do so, Harris invited a group of Texas lawmakers, who drastically left the state chamber to deny Republicans the necessary quorum to pass a electoral security bill in ordinary session.
GOP Governor Greg Abbott, who backs the bill, has said he will call a special session to retake it. She also pledged to continue to fight for Congress to pass S.1, the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
5. Invite senators to dinner
The vice president invited all 24 senators, 16 Democrats and eight Republicans, to dinner at her home at the Naval Observatory last week. All but three were in attendance – Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., And Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Appeared on Fox News after the meal and said politics was not part of the dinner conversation.
“But if she had mentioned policies, I would have loved to say, ‘Madam Vice-President, you have to go to the border. You have to talk to the border patrol, “” Blackburn said on “Hannity.”
6. Country tour to promote the COVID-19 vaccine
Last week, Biden launched a nationwide vaccination campaign to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19. She started in Greenville, SC, before heading to Atlanta and is expected to travel to Detroit next week.
7. Walk the pride rally
Harris became the first vice president to participate in a pride event when she and her husband Doug Emhoff surprised the crowd with an appearance at the Capital Pride Walk and Rally in Washington DC
There, she called on Congress to pass the Equality Act, which Republicans oppose, arguing the changes could undermine the religious freedom of other citizens.
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8. Stop at a bakery in Chicago
Harris stopped in Windy City in early April, where she visited a vaccination site open to unionized workers. She also visited Brown Sugar Bakery on the south side of town, where she met owners and employees and left with a piece of German chocolate cake.
“While she was there, like a lot of Americans, she had a snack. I think she has the right to do that,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told a reporter. “But, she was there to talk about COVID and play a role because she plays an important role in our efforts to tackle vaccine reluctance, communicate with the public on how we can do it, and it’s imperative get the vaccine when it’s available. “
Fox News’s Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
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