Kamala Harris and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday, according to White House officials, as former President Donald Trump took credit for her going there.
Harris was charged by President Joe Biden with stemming the flow of people seeking asylum in the United States from Central America earlier this year.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The trip comes after Harris traveled to Guatemala and Mexico to meet with leaders to discuss the surge of migrants attempting to cross into the U.S. She was criticized from both sides of the political divide for her sometimes-uneven performance on her first foreign trip as vice president, struggling with questions about a border visit and stumbling during a press conference that wrapped the trip.
Prior to that trek, Harris had shot down calls from Republicans for her to go to the border and personally observe the situation, claiming that she had been tasked with addressing the root causes of northern migration in Central American and South American countries while Mayorkas was overseeing the response to illegal border crossings in the Southwest.
She maintained her focus on those issues while visiting the two countries by meeting with multiple groups of local activists and addressing corruption concerns with both Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei.
An awkward exchange during an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt on that trip, however, forced the vice president to change her stance.
“Yes, I will and I have before,” Harris said in response to a question at her press conference in Mexico City. “Listen, anybody, especially if you’re from California you know, I’ve spent a lot of time on the border — both going there physically and aware of the issues.”
Notably, Harris’s reported visit will fall just five days prior to former President Donald Trump’s own trip to what he called a “decimated” region with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has vowed to finish the construction of the Trump administration’s border wall.
Shortly after the trip was confirmed by Harris’s staff, Trump fired off a statement slamming the Biden administration for nixing some of his strict immigration policies.
“After months of ignoring the crisis at the Southern Border, it is great that we got Kamala Harris to finally go and see the tremendous destruction and death that they’ve created — a direct result of Biden ending my very tough but fair Border policies,” Trump said. “Harris and Biden were given the strongest Border in American history. And now, it is by far the worst in American history.”
He added: “If Governor Abbott and I weren’t going there next week, she would have never gone!
Trump sounded a similar tone in a statement announcing his trip last week.
“I have accepted the invitation of Texas Governor Greg Abbott to join him on an official visit to our Nation’s decimated Southern Border on Wednesday, June 30, 2021,” he announced in a statement on June 15. “The Biden Administration inherited from me the strongest, safest, and most secure border in U.S history and in mere weeks they turned it into the single worst border crisis in U.S history. It’s an unmitigated disaster zone.”
Trump added that “our Nation is now one giant sanctuary city where even dangerous criminals are being cut loose and set free inside the U.S interior on a daily basis,” before attacking Harris and the Biden administration for ignoring the “wreckage” caused by their immigration policies.