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Wrapping up a two-day tour of Guatemala and Mexico on Tuesday, June 8, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris courted backlash both from Republicans and Democrats in the United States when asked in a press conference about why she was not visiting the Mexico-U.S. border as part of that tour.

“We’ve been to the border,” Harris responded to NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt in a one-on-one interview that immediately went viral on social media.

But Holt reminded her that she personally had not been to the border.

“And I haven’t been to Europe,” she quipped. “I don’t understand the point you’re making.”

Notwithstanding, Harris has faced strong bipartisan criticism for her decision not to visit the U.S. southern border as she undertook a broader diplomatic mission in the Northern Triangle.

“We are going to the border. We have to deal with what’s happening at the border, there’s no question about that. That’s not a debatable point,” Harris continued, trying to dodge Holt’s questions.

“But we have to understand that there’s a reason people are arriving at our border and ask what is that reason and then identify the problem so we can fix it.”

Congressional Republicans in the United States were quick to define Harris’ remarks as just another example of her incompetence in managing the growing border crisis, which in April reached a 20-year high of migrants.

But White House press secretary Jen Psaki later defended Harris during a press conference at the White House, stating that the U.S. southern border “is not part of the vice president’s mandate.”


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