After more than four months in power, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris plan to leave the United States this week to embark on their administration’s first foreign trips.
Harris will leave the country first, scheduled to fly to Guatemala on Sunday to talk to President Alejandro Giamatti and other leaders there about the “root causes” of migration.
From there, she will travel to Mexico on Monday night for similar talks with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his advisers before returning to Washington.
“Part of giving people hope is a very specific commitment to eradicating corruption in the region,”
In late March, the vice president took over as manager of the Biden administration’s response to the migrant crisis on the US-Mexico border.
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Since taking on the task, Harris has faced relentless criticism from Republicans – and some Democrats – for not visiting U.S. border communities to learn more about the issues these communities and border patrol agents are dealing with as migrants, including many unaccompanied minors, are flooding the region and depleting resources.
“Kamala Harris must stop at the US border on her way to Mexico and Guatemala tomorrow to see Biden’s record border crisis first hand,” GOP chairman Ron McDaniel wrote on Twitter on Saturday night.
Harris and her defenders in Washington have argued that the role of vice president has always been meant to be a diplomatic task in which she will deal with foreign leaders instead of touring American communities.
While neither Biden nor Harris has traveled to U.S. border areas since taking office, the administration has sent other senior officials, such as Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Health and Humanitarian Secretary Xavier Bessera.
Come on Wednesday, it will be President Biden’s turn to represent the United States abroad. The president is scheduled to attend the G7 summit in Cornwall, Britain, after which he and First Lady Jill Biden will meet with Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle.
The president’s itinerary also includes stops in Belgium for the NATO summit and a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – and a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16th.
Biden left the country while facing his own share of criticism from Republicans.
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Writing on the Fox News website on Saturday, McDaniel cited the federal report on jobs on Friday, which shows growth figures that are 17% below expectations.
Other Republicans have taken on Biden, saying he appears weak in his relationship with Putin. They cited a recent attack by Romanian hackers on a ransomware against a US fuel pipeline – coinciding with Biden’s recent decision to allow Putin to continue with his own pipeline to Europe.
“Biden’s decision … is more than mixed messages and careless decision-making,” U.S. Sen. Kevin Kramer, RN.D., wrote recently. “It’s a threat to America’s national security.”