Vice President Kamala Harris‘s team reportedly “panicked” after President Joe Biden announced he had chosen her to lead his administration’s response to the border crisis, according to a CNN report.
Biden gave Harris the leading role in the high-profile political controversy, which has consumed the early days of Biden’s presidency, but Harris’s aides immediately feared the job would reflect poorly on her future political ambitions because of how politically fraught the crisis is.
They tried to distance her from the border crisis by insisting that her role was necessarily narrow, and that it only allowed her to lead negotiations between the U.S., Mexico, and the Northern Triangle countries of Central America.
Harris’s team has also tried to dismiss questions about why she has not visited the southern border, where tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrant children are being held in migrant detention facilities, by claiming a border visit is “not her job.”
“The president has asked [Homeland Security] Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas to address what is going on at the border, and he has been working very hard and is showing some progress because of his hard work,” Harris said in April. “I have been asked to lead the issue of addressing the root causes.”
Critics have pointed out that Harris could be trying to shield herself from political criticism by keeping her distance from the border crisis.
CNN, however, did not hesitate to defend her, insisting in its report that Harris is doing the best she can to address the “seemingly intractable problem.”
“Harris, thought to be a leading Democratic candidate for the 2024 presidential race should Biden not run for reelection, has not shied away from the tough assignment and is engaged and dedicated to her new role,” CNN claimed.
“But she and her staff appeared wary of becoming a scapegoat for Republicans for any and all problems at the southern border,” the outlet continued, adding that this is “a not-unfounded concern.”
Harris has not visited the southern border or held a press conference regarding the border crisis since being named Biden’s point person, according to Fox News.