The Biden White House is attempting to stage manage a roadshow to promote an already-popular, free money stimulus package, but when it comes to the border nightmare, the principals are missing in action.
“Help Is Here” Is Here!
White House principals are trekking across America to promote “shots in arms and money in pockets” under the American Rescue Plan, with President Joe Biden himself set to join the roadshow.
With the tour, Biden is looking to avoid a missed opportunity that veterans of the Obama presidency recall: failing to showcase a massive stimulus package (also known as forcing Americans to celebrate their government giving them their own money, with the government’s vig on top, of course).
From the press podium, Jen Psaki did her part to give the stimulus dollars an extra boost: “$1,400 checks to finish the job of $2,000 in direct relief to millions of Americans.” (Of course, the other $600 in that figure came from President Donald Trump.)
Monday found vice president Kamala Harris at a Las Vegas vaccination site, while first lady Jill Biden visited a school in New Jersey.
“We want to avoid a situation where people are unaware of what they’re entitled to,” Harris said Monday. “It’s not selling it; it literally is letting people know their rights. Think of it more as a public education campaign.”
In remarks on “rescue plan” implementation on Monday, a reporter asked whether Biden wants Trump’s help bolstering trust in the vaccine. Short answer: No, nothing Trump could say to his followers would have enough impact. (So much for incitement!)
Q: Should President Donald Trump help promote the vaccine among skeptics, sir, especially those Republicans who say they’re not willing to take it?
BIDEN: I’m hearing a lot of reports from serious reporters like you saying that. I discussed it with my team, and they say the thing that has more impact than anything Trump would say to the MAGA folks is what the local doctor, what the local preachers, what the local people in the community say.
Addressing The Political Emergency At The Border.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released a statement Monday night putting responsibility for the border crisis on the Trump administration and outlining next steps for addressing what has become a political emergency for Biden.
“The prior administration completely dismantled the asylum system . . . The prior administration tore down the lawful pathways that had been developed for children to come to the United States in a safe, efficient, and orderly way . . . The previous administration also cut foreign aid funding to the Northern Triangle . . . And, there were no plans to protect our front-line personnel against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
$150 million in aid to Northern Triangle countries was reinstated under Trump in October 2019.
Proposed measures to deal with the border situation in the short and long term include:
- Launching new joint CBP/HHS processing centers;
- Expanding a new virtual program and the Central American Minors program to apply for admission before coming to the U.S. border;
- Establishing processing centers in Mexico and Northern Triangle countries.
Mayorkas confirmed that the unaccompanied minors arriving at the border include very young children. “We are encountering six- and seven-year-old children, for example, arriving at our border without an adult,” the statement reads.
Psaki faced questions Monday on Biden’s hands-off approach to managing the border crisis—while he meticulously stage-manages the rollout of vaccines and stimulus checks.
Q: There are a lot of Americans who see [Biden] going to take these trips this week to promote this popular law and think, “Okay, but why can’t he take time to go down to the border?” I know you said, last week, when—you’ve said it before: It takes a lot of resources to get him there. It’s taking a lot of resources to get him to Pennsylvania and Georgia this week; the Vice President out west. Why not take the time to schedule something to go [to the border] as well?
PSAKI: Well, I would say that his focus is on developing solutions—pushing his team, encouraging his team to develop solutions that will expedite processing at the border, that will open more facilities, that will ensure kids are treated with humanity and also treated safely. And that’s his focus. And so that’s where he’s putting his efforts on immigration.
Q And what is the status of allowing cameras into some of these facilities? We’ve been asking for weeks about whether or not the press will ever get a chance to see either the Border Patrol or the HHS facilities.
MS. PSAKI: We continue to support transparency and—from here, from the White House. And DHS oversees some of the facilities. HHS oversees some of the facilities. I know that they’re working through how to provide access in a way that is—abides by COVID protocols and also protects the privacy of people who are being—who are staying in those facilities.