The White House has once again come to Vice President Kamala Harris’ defense as border czar after Guatemala’s president alleged a lack of contact with her since June.
”Is Vice President Harris still in charge of addressing the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala?” a reporter asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki at Monday’s daily press briefing.
”She is, and I just announced a commitment that she’s announcing this afternoon,” Psaki said, referring to Harris’ statement that investment by businesses in Central American nations has reached $1.2 billion as the vice president seeks to address the ”root causes” of migration to the U.S. southern border.
”Well, then why is it that she has not spoken to the president of Guatemala since June?” Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked. ”That’s six months.”
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei reportedly said he has not heard from Harris since her Guatemala City visit in June, when she publicly told illegal migrants ”don’t come” to the southern border amid criticism of the Biden administration’s policies there.
”I did see this kind of strange report from the president of Guatemala saying that he’s had no contact with the White House, which is inaccurate,” Psaki said, pointing to the Biden administration’s ”range of conversations” with Giammattei, including a meeting last week with national security adviser Jake Sullivan in Washington.
”We’ll continue that high level of engagement,” Psaki added.
Giammattei said he was referring to contact with the border czar, not other U.S. officials.
”We had many conversations with your ambassador, but my presidency and the White House, no,” Giammattei reportedly said. ”I spoke once to Joe Biden because I introduced myself. Then we had the visit of Vice President Harris. On matters of state and migration, we had [Homeland Security Secretary] Mr. Alejandro Mayorkas [in July]. Aside from that direct communication, no, we have not had it.”
Biden assigned Harris as the border czar in March, and she visited Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to address the ”root causes” of migration in June.