Vice President Kamala Harris might be President Biden’s “border czar” but you wouldn’t know it by her actions to date on the border crisis, including what she was doing on Friday when a critical meeting was taking place between senior officials in the Biden administration and Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and members of his cabinet.
According to a report from the New York Post, the United States and Mexico were holding high-level talks on Friday on a new accord that “would combat drug trafficking, fentanyl smuggling, money laundering and illegal immigration” in the region:
[Secretary of State Antony] Blinken headed up the US contingent to Mexico that also included Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland and other high-level administration officials traveling to Mexico City.
They met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.
The new accord — known as the US-Mexico Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health and Safe Communities — would combat drug trafficking, fentanyl smuggling, money laundering and illegal immigration.
Blinken, speaking at a news conference with Ebrard, called the discussions “productive” and said they centered around a host of issues related to the two countries and their shared border.
The discerning reader will note that these types of discussions between the two countries address the component of the border crisis that we’ve been told Harris was to be focused on the most: the alleged “root causes” of the surge in migrants to the U.S. border. Anytime Harris has been criticized (which has been often) for her handling/mishandling of the crisis, she and various members of the Biden administration have made sure to defensively note that she’s not falling down on the job but rather her specific role in managing the border crisis is to “address the root causes,” which is code for “this is a complex issue and you apparently just don’t get it.”
With all that in mind, you’d think the Friday meeting would be one Harris would be keen on being a part of, right? You’d think that, but her Friday plans did not include traveling with Blinken and Mayorkas to Mexico. Where was Kamala Harris?
Sampling treats at a New Jersey bakery:
Officially, Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to New Jersey on Friday to speak about child care and coronavirus vaccinations.
But she ended the trip with an unscheduled stop — for cake and cupcakes.
Harris indulged her sweet tooth by visiting Tonnie’s Minis, a Newark bakery, with Gov. Phil Murphy and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker before heading back to the airport to hop on Air Force Two for a return trip to Washington, D.C.
They ended up ordering a bunch. Murphy got four cupcakes. Harris got some red velvet cupcakes and slices of carrot cake, pineapple coconut cake, and sponge cake with chocolate icing.
Watch the Fox News report pointing out how Harris chose a visit to a New Jersey bakery over a meeting about the border crisis:
Fox News reports that Kamala Harris skipped a meeting about Mexican cartels to go to a bakery in New Jersey. pic.twitter.com/EROhfAfatF
— The First (@TheFirstonTV) October 11, 2021
The optics here are just terrible which, of course, is nothing new for Kamala Harris.
I should point out that this is not the first time Harris was called out for making a very public visit to a bakery as the border crisis was worsening. Back in April, she was seen at a Chicago bakery just weeks after Biden officially named her as his point person on the border crisis. When asked why Harris was visiting the bakery and not the border at the time, White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained it this way:
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. And so, while she was there, like many Americans, she got a snack. I think she’s allowed to do that.
.@nypost's Steven Nelson asks whether Kamala Harris is still the point person on the border crisis, especially after photo ops of her at a Chicago bakery yesterday.
Psaki: "She got a snack. I think she's allowed to do that."
Psaki doesn't seem to handle tough questions well. pic.twitter.com/FITwKGQ0y6
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) April 7, 2021
Because #priorities and stuff.