NotedDC — Harris prepares for Texas visit

Vice President Harris will travel to the Lone Star State this weekend to fundraise for Texas Democrats in Austin, but it’s unclear whether she’ll make a stop at the U.S.-Mexico border some 220 miles away.

Conservative pundits and GOP lawmakers have knocked Harris for not going to the border more often, despite immigration being in her portfolio of issues to address.

Harris traveled to El Paso, Texas, to visit a processing center at the U.S-Mexico border in June 2021, her first and only trip to the area as vice president. That trip followed weeks of critics questioning why she hadn’t gone to the border.

The White House has long emphasized it is focused on addressing the “root causes” of migration from Central America, though questions about the vice president’s reluctance to visit the border persisted even after she visited Guatemala and Mexico.

Not every stop on the vice president’s trip this weekend is listed on her public schedule, so stops could be added. Harris’s press office didn’t respond to NotedDC’s request for comment or provide additional information about the trip.

Harris is slated to headline the Texas Democratic Party’s annual Johnson-Jordan Reception on Saturday, and she plans to meet with people to discuss reproductive rights in light of Texas’ sweeping abortion ban.

Still, immigration will be a major part of the coverage surrounding her trip, particularly after several GOP governors bused and flew migrants from the southern border to cities and states farther north led by Democrats.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has gone so far as to send busloads of migrants from Texas to be dropped off near the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., where the vice president resides.

With midterm elections mere weeks away, a Reuters-Ipsos poll out Wednesday found that 40 percent of respondents think the GOP is better at handling immigration issues, compared to 32 percent who favored Democrats on the issue.

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☀️ Rare moment of unity

President Biden and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) hit the pause button on their growing political rivalry on Wednesday as the pair appeared together alongside their wives to give an update on the response to Hurricane Ian in Florida.

  • During a joint appearance in hurricane-ravaged Fort Myers, Biden and DeSantis complimented each other and spoke of cooperation between federal and state recovery efforts.

  • “I’m just thankful everyone has banded together,” said DeSantis, a possible GOP candidate for president in 2024. “We appreciate working together across various levels of government.” 

  • Biden later told reporters that DeSantis has “done a good job” in responding to the catastrophic impact of Hurricane Ian: “We have very different political philosophies, but we’ve worked hand in glove … On things related to dealing with this crisis, we’ve been completely lockstep.”

The visit was free of any of the sort of politically fraught images that accompanied a similar trip by then-President Obama to New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when then-Gov. Chris Christie (R) caught flak from fellow Republicans for embracing the sitting president just weeks before a major election.

Biden and DeSantis have frequently been at odds over issues ranging from COVID-19 mandates to the treatment of migrants, and the pair have signaled they don’t intend to stop speaking their minds about the others’ policies after the current hurricane response period is over.

More from The Hill:

HOGAN 2024? MARYLAND GOV HEADS TO NEW HAMPSHIRE

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) will be enjoying a breakfast of Eggs & Politics on Thursday when he takes his turn keynoting the renowned New Hampshire event series that has become a must for presidential hopefuls.

  • Hogan, who is term-limited, is among a few Republicans who have been gently testing the waters for a potential 2024 run — or at least looking for a way to influence the GOP’s candidate selection.

  • Politics & Eggs, which is hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College and The New England Council, has become a crucial stop for gauging voter interest in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

Hogan, a moderate Republican who hasn’t shied away from criticizing former President Trumpalso hit the Iowa State Fair  another key stop for would-be presidential candidates — in August.

As Trump continues to mull a run for a second term, several potential contenders have chosen to stay mum about their intentions so as not to upset Trump or his loyal base.

But Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, also has shown interest. He spoke at Politics & Eggs in August and attended the Iowa State Fair.

🤐 Buttoned up

President Biden smiled and looked onward as a small pool of reporters hurled questions at him while they were hurried out of the president’s meeting with the White House’s reproductive rights task force this week.

“Among the only press in the world that does this. Seriously. Seriously,” Biden quipped to task force members and members of his Cabinet who were in the room as reporters and their cameras were ushered out of the area.

  • The press’ prodding for new information from the president after a photo-op or formal address is not a new phenomenon and happens regardless of the president’s party. And Biden on occasion has obliged with headline-worthy answers on important topics, though he regularly skips over such pleas.

  • The president has shared some advice on the topic with other leaders: “I wouldn’t bother answering,” Biden was caught on tape last month telling Philippines President Bongbong Marcos as media members were escorted out of the New York City gathering.

According to data tracked by The American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Biden has taken part in fewer than 20 press conferences since taking office. For context, his predecessor, former President Trump, held 39 press conference in his first two years. Former President Obama held 46 of them.

The White House didn’t respond to NotedDC‘s request for comment. The White House Correspondents’ Association also wasn’t immediately available to respond, but the group has vocalized reporters’ concerns about access to the administration.

NUMBER TO KNOW

$31,000,000,000,000

New national debt record reached this week, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

ONE MORE THING

The Real Housewives of Potomac” — the wildly popular DMV-based franchise of the hit Bravo reality show — returns this weekend and already at least two of the show’s most popular stars are slated to hold watch parties in the District.

  • Grande Dame Karen Huger will be at Dirty Goose in Shaw, while former model Ashley Darby will be greeting fans at NoMa beer garden Wunder Garten.

  • Know of any other VIP watch parties? Spot any of the RHOP ladies watching the premier? Drop us a note.

[Note: We’re choosing to forget the disastrous Real Housewives of DC that was canceled after one season following an embarrassing White House party crashing incident.]

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