White House officials are 'quietly perplexed' by Kamala Harris' comments on not yet visiting the border and fear they may overshadow her first foreign trip as VP, report says
- Kamala Harris visited Guatemala and Mexico this week, her first foreign trip as vice president.
- Some officials were "perplexed" by her comments and feared they might overshadow the trip, per CNN.
- Harris was also criticized for telling Guatemalans not to come to the US.
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Some White House officials are "perplexed" by Kamala Harris' comments in which she defended not yet visiting the US-Mexico border and worry that they might overshadow her first foreign trip as vice president, CNN reported this week .
Harris visited Guatemala and Mexico earlier this week as part of her efforts to address illegal immigration into the US.
On Tuesday, NBC News aired Harris' interview with Lester Holt in which she said she hadn't visited the US-Mexico border as vice president because she was in charge of dealing with the "root causes" of Central American migrants coming to the US.
"We are going to the border. We've been to the border," Harris said.
"You haven't been to the border," Holt said. Harris responded, "And I haven't been to Europe."
CNN's Jeremy Diamond, who accompanied the vice president on her trip, said on " New Day " on Wednesday: "Some administration officials are quietly perplexed about the vice president's answers to some of those questions, in particular that initial question that she got from Lester Holt about the border where she equated it with Europe.
"There was a hope inside the White House that this trip would be a success, and by the end of it there was concern that it was perhaps overshadowed by her answers to some of those questions," Diamond said.
The White House and a spokesperson for Harris did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Harris was also criticized this week for telling Guatemalans not to come to the US .
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York on Tuesday slammed Harris' comments , saying they were "disappointing to see."
One unnamed Democratic strategist told The Hill on Tuesday that Harris would be "haunted by this trip and this issue for as long as she is in politics."
"The border is a thorny issue and she can't win inside her party and she'll be targeted for these comments for a long time from Republicans," the strategist added.
The White House has stood by Harris.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said on Tuesday that Harris' message to Guatemalans was meant to dissuade migrants from embarking on a dangerous trek.
"What the vice president was simply conveying was that there's more to be done, that we don't have these systems in place yet, it's still a dangerous journey, as we've said many times from here and from many forums before," Psaki said. "And we need more time to get the work done to ensure that asylum processing is where it should be."
President Joe Biden in late March tapped Harris to be in charge of affairs concerning the US's southern border. Since Biden became president, record numbers of migrants have tried to enter the US via Mexico.Read the original article on Business Insider