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Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the southern border Friday, more than three months after President Biden tapped her to lead the administration’s diplomatic response to the surge at the border.
As facilities overflowed and conditions became dire, GOP lawmakers and even a few Democrats called on the VP to head south. The White House has fiercely fended off attacks from Republicans as Harris resisted committing to a border visit, saying instead she was more focused on the “root causes” of migration.
Harris’ border visit to El Paso, Texas, will come just days before former President Donald Trump will take his own trip, along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Trump credited himself for spurring Harris to book a trip, saying in a statement that if he and Abbott “weren’t going there next week, she would have never gone!”
Instead of a border visit, here’s some of what the vice president has turned her attention to over the last 92 days:
1. Visiting Guatemala and Mexico
Harris, earlier this month, visited Guatemala for her first visit abroad since being appointed by Biden to lead efforts. “I want to emphasize that the goal of our work is to help Guatemalans find hope at home, at the same time I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making the dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border – do not come, do not come,” she said in Guatemala.
HARRIS TO VISIT BORDER AMID CRITICISM
She also met with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and the pair said they had agreed to expand collaboration on a range of economic and security issues.
2. Meeting virtually with Northern Triangle countries, offering them more money
In a virtual meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, Harris offered an additional $310 million to address food insecurity in the region. She said Northern Triangle countries, such as Guatemala, had been trying to recover from hurricanes, droughts and COVID-19 infections, conditions that Harris said caused many to leave their homes on the dangerous trek to the U.S.
3. Announcing commitments from businesses to invest in Northern Triangle countries
After a business roundtable, Harris announced in May that 12 companies and organizations – including Mastercard, Microsoft, Nespresso and the World Economic Forum – have made commitments to “support inclusive economic development.”
She said the strategy “will involve significant commitments of U.S. government resources” and public-private partnerships.
4 Hosting Texas Democrats at the White House
Biden tapped Harris to run point for the administration’s efforts to fight GOP-led voting restrictions, too. To do this, Harris invited a group of Texas lawmakers, who dramatically walked out of the state’s House chamber to deny the quorum needed for Republicans to pass an election security bill in regular session.
GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, who supports the bill, has said he will call a special session to take it up again. She also promised to continue fighting for Congress to pass S.1, the For the People Act, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
5. Having female senators over for dinner
The vice president invited all 24 female senators, 16 Democrat and eight Republican, to her home on the Naval Observatory for dinner last week. All attended except three — Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., appeared on Fox News after the meal and said policy wasn’t a part of the dinner conversation.
“But if she had brought up policies, I would’ve loved to have said, ‘Madam Vice President, you need to get to the border. You need to talk to the Border Patrol,'” Blackburn said on ‘Hannity.’
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6. Touring the country to promote the COVID-19 vaccine
Last week, Biden kicked off a cross-country vaccination campaign to encourage Americans to get inoculated against COVID-19. She started in Greenville, S.C., before heading to Atlanta and is set to visit Detroit next week.
Vice President Kamala Harris joining marchers for the Capital Pride Parade on June 12 in Washington, D.C.
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images, File)
7. Walking in Pride Rally
Harris became the first vice president to march in a Pride event when she and husband Doug Emhoff surprised the crowd with an appearance at the Capital Pride Walk and Rally in Washington, D.C.
There, she called on Congress to pass the Equality Act, which Republicans oppose, arguing the changes could infringe on the religious freedom of other citizens.
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Vice President Kamala Harris visiting Brown Sugar Bakery in Chicago on April 6. At right is Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton.
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
8. Stopping by a Bakery in Chicago
Harris stopped by the Windy City in early April, where she toured a vaccination site that opened to union workers. She also visited Brown Sugar Bakery on the city’s South Side, where she met with owners and employees and came away with a piece of German chocolate cake.
“While she was there, like many Americans, she got a snack. I think she’s allowed to do that,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told a reporter. “But, she was there to talk about COVID and play a role as she’s playing a significant role on our efforts to address vaccine hesitancy, communicate with the public about how we can do this, and it’s imperative to get the vaccine when it’s available.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.