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“Someone has to listen to our local communities,” he added. “With all due respect, it is not enough just to come and make a staged visit. You have to understand. “
The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Cuellar’s invitation.
Comments from the congressman, whose district borders Mexico on the southern tip of Texas, come as Harris completes her first overseas trip since taking office: A two-nation visit to Guatemala and Mexico focused on the causes of the surge in migrants.
The Vice President’s public remarks during the trip incited anger among progressive Democrats who condemned Harris’ message to migrants this week as inappropriately harsh. “Don’t come. Don’t come,” Harris said at a press conference in Guatemala City on Monday.
Meanwhile, Republicans attacked Harris over an interview with NBC News that aired Tuesday in which she dodged questions that she had not yet visited the southern border. “I haven’t been to Europe yet. … I do not understand what you mean. I’m not ignoring the importance of the border, ”she said at one point of the exchange.
But Cuellar on Thursday praised the Vice President’s stance on the trip and offered respite from the more moderate corner of her party as the White House grapples with the political ramifications of Harris’ remarks.
“I want to thank the Vice-President for his clear message: ‘Don’t come,'” said Cuellar. “But we have to combine that with some action and some impact.”
White House communications director Kate Bedingfield also defended Harris on Thursday, dismissing a CNN report that administrative officials were confused by the vice president’s responses on the border.
“I would say she’s already done an excellent job on this incredibly difficult portfolio, this incredibly important job that the President has given her,” Bedingfield told CNN, adding, “The work she’s already doing on this important diplomatic Performing an order already makes a difference. “.”