After Kamala Harris’s disastrous interview with Lester Holt on Tuesday, in which she froze under criticism for not visiting the border, only CBS This Morning on Wednesday highlighted the mounting “border backlash.” But reporter Ed O’Keefe sounded like a Democratic hack as he dismissed GOP “pure politics” complaints against the Vice President.
Despite an on-screen graphic detailing the “VP Harris Border Backlash,” a seemingly baffled Gayle King couldn’t understand what the fuss was about: “So why the incoming for Vice President Harris from the Republicans and the Democrats?” O’Keefe played a clip of Harris saying “we’ve” been to the border, only to have NBC’s Holt tell her, “You haven’t been to the border.” In that interview, the VP replied with this non sequitur: “I haven’t been to Europe.”
O’Keefe spun this all as nothing more than a jealous, worried GOP lashing out: “Look, this issue of whether or not to go to the border is rooted in pure politics. The GOP knows Harris remains a popular rival and may one day run for president himself.”
The journalist then tried to focus on the positive, while grudgingly admitting:
The Vice President viewed the trip as a success, and she did demonstrate an ability to go toe to toe with world leaders. But her inability to more quickly bat away criticism of critics clouded the focus of the trip.
As though Biden and Harris aren’t actually in charge, O’Keefe ended with a blame everyone approach: “Another reminder of how hard it will be to achieve consensus on the issue of immigration.”
On Tuesday, ABC and CBS attempted to morph the Vice President into a “clear,” “blunt,” “direct” tough talker when it comes to the border.
The attempt to salvage Harris’s botched trip was sponsored by Progressive insurance. Click on the links to let them know what you think.
A transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
CBS Graphic: VP Harris Border Backlash: Defends Not Visiting Border as She Wraps Trip to Mexico, Guatemala
GAYLE KING: As the President heads overseas, Vice President Harris is back in Washington after her trip to Mexico and Guatemala. She met with Mexico's president and others to talk about the root causes of the immigration crisis, but she faces criticism from both parties on Capitol Hill. Ed O'Keefe is just back from Guatemala City. He was with the Vice President. Ed, good morning to you. So why the incoming for Vice President Harris from the Republicans and the Democrats?
ED O’KEEFE: Good morning. Immigration's a sensitive subject on both sides of the border. Here in Washington, on both sides of the aisle. It's been her big focus ever since the president assigned her to take it on in March. On this trip, the Vice President announced plans to tackle illegal border crossings and took on issues like drug trafficking and political corruption. Some critics say she's ignoring what they think is the most important issue — the border itself.
VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS: We need to prioritize what's happening at the border, and we have to prioritize why people are going to the border.
O’KEEFE: At a press conference Tuesday night in Mexico, vice president Harris said she will visit the U.S. Border with Mexico in the future.
HARRIS: I think it's shortsighted to suggest we're only going to respond to the reaction as opposed to addressing the cause.
O’KEEFE: Harris hasn't been to the border since the president tasked her with handling the increasing number of migrants. Journalists repeatedly questioned her about this on her trip.
HARRIS: We've been to the border. We've been to the border.
LESTER HOLT: You haven't been to the border.
HARRIS: And I haven't been to Europe.
O’KEEFE: Republican critics like Texas senator John Cornyn called her out for skipping the stop.
SENATOR JOHN CORNYN: She hasn't even been to our southern border. She hasn't visited the facilities where tens of thousands of migrant children have been cared for.
O’KEEFE: Biden administration officials defended and clarified Harris' work.
JEN PSAKI: Her assignment was to work with countries and leaders in the northern triangle to address root causes, address corruption, ensure we're working together to address humanitarian concerns.
O’KEEFE: But the vice president's message to migrants wanting to come to the U.S. —
HARRIS: Do not come. Do not come.
O’KEEFE: Was also criticized by some fellow Democrats. New York's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called those comments "Disappointing," saying, "We can't help set someone's house on fire and then blame them for fleeing." Look, this issue of whether or not to go to the border is rooted in pure politics. The GOP knows Harris remains a popular rival and may one day run for president himself. The Vice President viewed the trip as a success, and she did demonstrate an ability to go toe to toe with world leaders. But her inability to more quickly bat away criticism of critics clouded the focus of the trip. Another reminder of how hard it will be to achieve consensus on the issue of immigration.