President Joe Biden tasked Vice President Kamala Harris to oversee the “root causes” of immigration after the crisis at the United States southern border hit a 20-year high, but the vice president has not held a press conference on the matter after 18 days in the role.
“I can think of nobody who is better qualified to do this,” Biden said on March 24.
“When she speaks, she speaks for me. She doesn’t have to check with me,” he added.
That was 18 days ago.
Since that time, Harris has not visited the southern border or held a press conference about the border or any immigration-related issues.
The former California senator, however, has visited her home state and a pair of other states since receiving the immigration oversight role.
The vice president enjoyed an Easter weekend at her home in southern California but did not visit the nearby southern border. During that same weekend, Harris stopped by her native Oakland, the first time doing so since winning the vice presidency, where she traveled with Gov. Gavin Newsom to a water treatment plant to raise support for the White House’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.
In a separate trip to Chicago, Harris spoke about vaccines and ate a slice of cake at a local bakery — which drew some backlash from conservatives.
Republicans have grown increasingly frustrated by Harris’s silence.
“It would have been incredibly easy for Harris to add a stop on her trip to show her support and to console, comfort and lead on the ground. She has her own plane,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote in an op-ed after the vice president traveled to California. “The flight time from LA to San Diego is about 30 minutes.”
Harris’s absence has also not gone unnoticed by the press, and the White House has been ambiguous about when the public can expect a statement.
“I would say the vice president was visiting Chicago actually to talk about COVID and the importance of communities getting the vaccine when it’s available and accessible to them,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a White House briefing last week. “And so, while she was there, like many Americans, she got a snack. I think she’s allowed to do that.”
Psaki offered no definitive timetable about when Harris will visit the southern border or address the country about the crisis.
“I’m sure it will be soon,” Psaki said.
The response was similar to one Psaki gave when she was asked why Biden was the first president in the last 100 years not to give a press conference in his first 33 days.
“He will hold a solo press conference, but I don’t have a date for you at this point in time,” she said in February.
Her statement came just weeks after she told reporters in January that the White House was committed to “bringing truth and transparency back to the briefing room” and said that “rebuilding trust with the American people will be central to our focus in the press office and in the White House every single day.”
Biden ultimately gave his first press conference more than 60 days into his administration.
Author : Lawrence Richard
Source : Washington Examiner : Harris has gone 18 days without a news conference since migration oversight role