White House: 'Appropriate time' for Kamala Harris border visit after VP dismissed it as 'grand gesture'

Vice President Harris to visit border this week after 91 days as ‘border czar’

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, reacts to news that Kamala Harris and Alejandro Mayorkas will visit the border this week ahead of Donald Trump’s visit

The White House on Wednesday said it is the “appropriate time” for Vice President Kamala Harris to make the trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, maintaining that timing is not driven by former President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit. 

Harris is set to visit El Paso, Texas, Friday with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, amid mounting criticism from Republicans for not having visited the border after her appointment by President Biden to handle the “root causes” of migration more than 90 days ago. 

In March, Harris laughed when a reporter asked if she planned to visit the border. Earlier in June, she dismissed a border visit as a “grand gesture.”

The details of Harris’ visit are unclear at this point, but the White House says the trip is part of her effort in overseeing efforts to address the root causes of migration. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki reminded reporters Wednesday that she, and the vice president, have said that “when it is the right time,” Harris “may go to the border.” 

“This trip on Friday, which is being done in coordination with Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, of course, joining her on this trip, and the planning and timing of it is done in coordination with them – as a coordinated effort with her office and DHS,” Psaki said, adding that her work is continuing to “address root causes” and “work in coordination” with the federal government to “get this under control.” 

Psaki said Harris was “going to assess with DHS when it was the appropriate time to go,” adding that “we are at this point because we’ve made a great deal of progress.” 

“Is there still more work to do? Absolutely,” Psaki said. “But it is important that every component of our government is coordinated.” 

When asked whether the White House wanted to make sure Harris visited the border before Trump’s scheduled visit next week, Psaki replied: “we made an assessment within our government about when it was an appropriate time for her to go to the border.” 

Trump is set to visit the border with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott next week. 

“Biden and Harris have handed control of our border over to cartels, criminals, and coyotes. Drug dealers, MS-13 gang members, human smugglers, sex traffickers, and the criminal elements of the world now have free rein,” Trump said in a statement. “What Biden and Harris have done, and are continuing to do on our border, is a grave and willful dereliction of duty.” 

Abbott previously told Fox News in an interview that later this week he will unveil the state’s plans to build a border wall in an attempt to finish what the former president started.

“We will continue that process of building the border wall in addition to these other strategies that we will use to make sure that anybody coming here will understand Texas is the wrong state to come into,” Abbott said.

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