“Someone has to listen to our local communities,” he added. “With all due respect, it is not enough just to come and visit in stages. They have to understand.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Cuellar’s invitation.
The comments from the congressman, whose southern tip district of Texas borders Mexico, comes as Harris concludes his first overseas trip since taking office: a two-country visit to Guatemala and Mexico focused on the root causes of the increase in the number of migrants.
The vice president’s public statements during a trip angered Progressive Democrats, who denounced Harris’s message to migrants this week as unduly harsh. “Don’t come. Don’t come,” Harris said at a press conference in Guatemala City on Monday.
Meanwhile, Republicans attacked Harris during an interview with NBC News that aired Tuesday, in which she dodged questions about not yet having visited the southern border. “I did not go to Europe. … I don’t understand the point you are making. I don’t underestimate the importance of the border, ”she said at one point in the exchange.
But Cuellar praised the vice president’s stance on the trip on Thursday, offering respite from her party’s softer corner as the White House grapples with the political fallout from Harris’ remarks.
“I want to thank the vice president for having had a clear message, ‘Don’t come’,” Cuellar said. “But we have to associate that with action and repercussions.”
White House communications director Kate Bedingfield also defended Harris on Thursday, dismissing a CNN report that administration officials were puzzled by the vice president’s responses to the border.
“I would say she’s already done a tremendous job on this incredibly difficult portfolio, this incredibly important task that the President has given her,” Bedingfield told CNN, adding, “The work she is already doing on this important mission diplomacy is already making a difference. “