Psaki snaps when asked why VP Harris had time to visit Chicago bakery but not the border

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – APRIL 06: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks with workers outside of the Brown Sugar Bakery in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood during a quick stop on April 06, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Vice President Harris also made a stop at a COVID-19 vaccination center during her visit to the city. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

White House press secretory Jen Psaki was pressed on Wednesday about Vice President Kamala Harris doing virtually nothing to remedy the border “situation” that she was assigned last month by the president to handle.

During the briefing, she was questioned specifically by Steven Nelson of the New York Post about the optics of the vice president reportedly taking the time to visit a bakery in Chicago this week but refusing to take the time to visit the border.

She was also questioned about the stunning contrast between the rhetoric of the Biden-Harris administration and the somewhat Trumpian policies of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Watch the back-and-forth exchange below:

(Video: C-SPAN)

“Vice President Harris has been put in charge of addressing the root causes of the border crisis. Last Tuesday, she spoke to Guatemala’s president, but she hasn’t visited the border or Central America or spoken to the leaders of El Salvador or Honduras. She was traveling this week, took time to visit a bakery in Chicago,” Nelson said to Psaki.

“I’m wondering is she still working on this and can you address the perception that she’s kind of quietly backing off while the Secretary Mayorkas is pursuing some Trump era policies, such as potentially building new border barriers and potentially prosecuting people who illegally cross multiple times,” he then asked.

The press secretary replied by saying Harris had been in Chicago to promote the coronavirus vaccine, not speak about the border, and that her trip to a bakery had been motivated by her desire to have “a snack.”

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,” Psaki said.

But the question might then become how many snacks does she need? During a visit last weekend to her pre-White House home in Los Angeles, she took the time to reportedly bake a whole pork roast. But for some reason she abstained from simply driving a few miles to the border to, at the very least, inspect it.

The “snack” rebuttal was not well received on social media.

Look:

Psaki then touted an announcement from the U.S. Agency for International Development about a Disaster Assistance Response Team (Dart) that has been deployed to Southern American to address “immediate humanitarian needs.”

“This absolutely an issue that she remains committed to is in the lead on … addressing the root causes, working with them and how we can address issues like long-term food insecurity, drought, the COVID-19 pandemic, hurricanes, etc.,” she added.

The Biden administration believes resolving the border crisis requires addressing the “root causes” of illegal immigration. Yet this wasn’t the case with the Trump administration, which managed to drastically reduce border crossings by simply investing more resources into border security and threatening South American nations with tariffs.

Psaki concluded her reply by saying she doesn’t “have an update” on when the vice president will visit the border.

“I’m sure it will be soon,” she said.

It’s been over two weeks since Harris was assigned to oversee the border “situation.”

Surprisingly, Mayorkas has for his part signaled that he understands — at least to some degree – how to actually resolve the crisis.

“Despite President Biden publicly trashing the hard line taken by his predecessor on immigration, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas echoed many of former President Donald Trump’s key policies during a recent behind-closed-doors meeting, vowing to stand up for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, advocate for more deportations — and even take on sanctuary cities,” according to the New York Post.

Meanwhile, Harris has displayed no such understanding of the crisis — either publicly or privately.

Nor has President Joe Biden, whose own rhetoric is responsible for incentivizing much of the illegal immigration seen in recent weeks.

Vivek Saxena

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