President Biden says he plans to visit the southern border for the first time

Source: Hot Air

As Karen pointed out earlier today, the White House response to the ongoing surge of migrants at the border has so far been to once again claim that even talking about the fact that there’s a surge of migrants at the border is tantamount to helping the smugglers.

Forgive me for thinking this is just a not-very-clever way of telling the media to shut up about a problem the administration would rather not talk about. As I pointed out here, most Americans have no idea what is happening at the border. A recent Harris poll found that 87% of respondents underestimate the number of migrants crossing the border each year. That’s just fine with the Biden White House who doesn’t want to risk educating anyone by calling attention to the reality, i.e. 2.8 million border crossings (including gotaways) in FY22.

Incredibly, Joe Biden has never visited the border during his entire career in politics. The closest he ever came was a 2008 drive-by where he was literally driving down the freeway adjacent to the border on his way to a fundraiser. But it looks like stuff just got real. After months of waving off the need to visit the border, Biden said today that he plans a visit soon.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he intends to visit the U.S.-Mexico border during an upcoming trip, a move that would come after frequent Republican criticism that his administration has failed to secure the border.

“That’s my intention,” Biden, a Democrat, told reporters when asked about the border trip. “We’re working out the details now.”

Here’s video of his statement.

Biden is already scheduled to visit Mexico next week and this border visit is connected to that trip.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Wednesday, citing “people familiar with the discussions,” that “the White House [was] strongly considering adding a visit” when Biden travels to Mexico City on Monday and Tuesday for meetings with the leaders of Canada and Mexico.

The visit is meant to help head off criticism of the president from Republicans and border-state leaders — but it could raise liabilities for Biden, who has sought to keep his distance from the humanitarian emergency that critics blame on his policies.

Also today there’s word Biden will be giving a speech on border security tomorrow. Kelly O’Donnell reports this was not on his public schedule prior to this moment.

There’s no telling what he might say but there have been reports for several weeks that the administration was considering a bunch of new rules for asylum seekers designed to replace the outgoing Title 42. Maybe we’ll hear about his plans tomorrow or maybe this will just be another attempt to blame the GOP for a problem of his own making. With this administration, it could go either way.

My own guess is that the only reason to do this now is because he’s expecting the crisis to get worse, something that has been widely discussed for months as the end of Title 42 approached. What I definitely don’t expect from this president is any willingness to take blame for what has happened on his watch. Maybe Biden will prove me wrong tomorrow but nothing he’s done so far suggests a willingness to accept any criticism as anything but bad faith.

I’m actually curious how this border visit is going to work as far as a presidential PR effort. Will Biden visit a shelter or actually go to the Rio Grande or up close to the border wall where people are streaming across? In case KJP is wondering, the latter would send a better message to the smugglers. And yet, I’m guessing Biden doesn’t want to be seen at a symbol associated with President Trump. It seems more likely he’d visit a detention center where cameras won’t be allowed at all or maybe just one for the pool. 

I guess I’m just curious what photos are going to come out of this. The White House has clearly been avoiding those shots for so long, so they must have a plan to either keep avoiding them or spin them in some way. Those are the details Biden referred to that are yet to be worked out, i.e. how do you turn a humanitarian crisis into an upbeat story. No doubt all of their finest minds are working on that one right now.

Update: This is the point I was trying to make. Biden has options about how to play a visit to the border. The ones he chooses will tell us a lot.