It would be quite an understatement to say Kamala Harris has not had a very good week.
She did a disastrous interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt in which she gave flippant and defensive answers when asked if she planned on visiting the southern border, she undercut her own arguments for not visiting the border while giving prepared remarks in Mexico City, rolled her eyes during a Q&A, and took incoming heat from members of her own party as her week deteriorated.
Worse still, in the midst of her first visit to the Northern Triangle, Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei put the blame for the border crisis directly at the feet of the Biden-Harris administration, saying in an interview that “this border crisis is one of your own making. Don’t put the blame on us,” according to Fox News contributor Sara Carter, who conducted the interview.
The White House’s standard answer, when asked about the border crisis and Harris not visiting the border, is to try to correct people by pointing out that she was assigned to tackle the “root causes” of the crisis, as though that should absolve her from having any responsibility to visit the border. In fact, Harris made this exact argument when again asked about her failure to visit by another reporter:
“I’ve been to the border before. I will go again. But when I’m in Guatemala, dealing with root causes, I think we should have a conversation about what’s going on in Guatemala.”
If “root causes” are what she’s supposed to investigate, she doesn’t need to visit the border or the Northern Triangle after all, says Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), because the root causes are right there in the White House.
“You know, Laura, Kamala Harris didn’t have to go all the way to Guatemala and Mexico to find the root causes of this border crisis because they’re not there,” Cotton told Fox News host Laura Ingraham earlier this week. “The root causes are in the White House.”
He further explained that it “happened on January 20th when Joe Biden took office, and he essentially opened our borders, reversing very effective policies that had our borders under control.”
Cotton also pointed out that even the presidents of Mexico and Guatemala appear to agree, saying “during this trip, [they] said that Joe Biden is largely responsible for his rhetoric on the campaign trail and during the transition, and then his policies during the administration.”
This, Cotton suggested, is “why we’ve had three straight months of record-high illegal immigration at our border. The highest numbers recorded in 20 years.”
What will make it slow down or stop? When (or if) “Joe Biden recognizes the errors of his ways and begins to stop this crisis at the border,” he concluded.
VP Harris didn't need to travel to Guatemala to find the "root causes" of the border crisis—the "root causes" are in the White House. pic.twitter.com/988LbmLUEA
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) June 9, 2021
This should be the default answer for every Republican who gets asked about Harris’ trip to the Northern Triangle and until she actually does visit the southern border (when and if that happens). I know a number of them have previously pointed out that the biggest issue has been the Biden administration’s policies, which is true, but they also need to specifically reference the term “root causes” because that’s the lingo White House press secretary Jen Psaki and other administration officials like to use to insinuate that Harris is not shirking her responsibilities by not visiting the border.
Sometimes, oftentimes really, the best way to counter the left’s narratives is by turning their words around on them. I think GOP Senators and House members can make even more effective arguments about Harris’ failures on the border crisis by taking this route going forward.