These 5 key numbers are currently defining the Biden presidency from unemployment to vaccinations

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden delivers a speech on voting rights at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on July 13, 2021.

  • President Joe Biden will mark six months in office on July 20.
  • Biden enjoys unified control of government, but the Senate still has its complications.
  • The administration has focused on battling COVID-19 and is strategizing how to continue the fight.
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

On July 20, President Joe Biden will have been in office for six months.

Since their January inauguration, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been met with a host of challenges, most notably the coronavirus pandemic, which, since last year, has upended life as we know it.

However, on a range of issues, from steering a largely-reopened economy and facing immigration challenges at the US-Mexico border to reshaping the country’s standing on the world stage and putting an imprint on the federal judiciary, Biden has made a clear pivot from the administration of former President Donald Trump.

Biden, who represented Delaware in the US Senate for 36 years before serving as vice president for eight years, is certainly not new to Washington, DC. But that familiarity has so far helped Biden navigate a city that he’s intimately familiar with, despite being a place that has also become much more partisan in recent decades.

Here are five key figures that currently defining the trajectory of Biden’s young presidency:

5.9%

In April 2020, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the US unemployment rate sat at 14.8%, a dizzying number that reflected the economic pain caused by businesses forced to shut down because of the deadly virus.

The June unemployment rate was 5.9%, with the economy adding 850,000 jobs last month, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The economy added 583,000 jobs in May and 269,000 jobs in April, respectively, so June’s numbers are a welcome sign in the long recovery in a post-COVID world.

The unemployment rate rose by 0.1% from May to June, but it was a reflection of an expanding job workforce.

Earlier in the spring, there were some concerns about job growth and the effectiveness of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package championed by Biden and congressional Democrats.

However, as COVID-related restrictions eased and vaccination rates increased since the beginning of the year, the economy has clearly benefited.

60.3%

After nearly six months in office, FiveThirtyEight’s polling average has Biden’s overall approval rating at 52.4%, with 42.5% disapproving of his performance, reflective of his relatively stable numbers over the past few months.

However, when it comes to Biden’s handling of the coronavirus, the FiveThirtyEight polling average has Biden at 60.3% approval, with 31.6% disapproving. Trump after his first six months in office held an 39% approval rating, with 55% disapproving, making him the most unpopular president at the 6-month mark, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Biden has consistently had higher numbers for his handling of COVID-19 relative to his overall approval rating, even among Independents and Republicans.

161.2 million

As of July 18, 161,232,483 Americans have been fully vaccinated, representing 48.6% of the total population, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Fully-vaccinated individuals have received two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, or one shot of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

However, 186,038,501 Americans have received at least one dose, which equates to 56% of the total population.

seattle covid vaccine
Byron Saunders holds his wife Joyce’s hand as she gets the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a community vaccination site in Seattle, Washington on March 13, 2021.

Read more: Joe Biden just fired a top Trump holdover at the Social Security Administration, but these 7 other Trump-era officials are still holding high-level government positions

While many people were fighting to find appointments earlier this year, many sites offer now walk-in appointments as vaccination rates lag in many parts of the country.

Vaccine hesitancy is a real thing, and Biden, who pledged to prioritize fighting the virus during his presidential campaign last year, is trying to find new ways to encourage people to get their shots, especially as the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus takes hold across the country.

The administration missed its goal of 70% of the population having received at least one vaccine shot by July 4, but Biden recently outlined a strategy of a door-to-door effort to help protect the unvaccinated against the virus, along with getting vaccines to primary-care physicians and physicians.

50

Earlier this year, Democrats were thrilled to win back control of the Senate after sweeping the dual Georgia runoff elections, which gave them 50 Senate seats. However, with Republicans also possessing 50 seats, Democratic control is only a reality due to Harris’s ability to break ties in the evenly-divided chamber.

While Democrats have been able to get virtually all of their major Cabinet and administration nominees through the Senate, along with their ability to push through judicial nominees, they still have to contend with the legislative filibuster, which can be used when major legislation fails to meet the 60-vote threshold to cut off debate.

Joe Biden with bipartisan group of senators.
President Joe Biden with a bipartisan group of senators.

Party leaders desperately want to pass their marquee For the People Act, or S.1, the sweeping voting-rights bill that would end partisan gerrymandering, expand early and absentee voting, and establish national standards for voter registration, among other measures.

However, moderate Sens. Joe Manchin of Arizona and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have not relented from their longstanding pledges to keep the filibuster intact, which will continue to limit how much the administration can actually sign into law.

$3.5 trillion

Senate Democrats last Wednesday reached a deal on a $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill that would feature infrastructure priorities focused on childcare, clean energy, and education. This legislation would be separate from the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure framework crafted by a small group of senators and the White House.

However, the bill will have to be passed through reconciliation, which Republicans have already rejected on the grounds of its cost and its reach into areas that they deem as unrelated to infrastructure.

By using the budget reconciliation process, Democrats can pass the bill with a simple majority and avoid a filibuster.

Democrats are determined to pass a larger party-line package, though, and with the filibuster still intact, now will likely be the party’s best chance to enact such a massive piece of legislation before the 2022 midterm elections.

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Former Kamala Harris staffer sent a report about the VP’s office dysfunction to their therapist: ‘Rarely in life are we publicly vindicated’

kamala harris
Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks at the start of a roundtable discussion on voting rights for people living with disabilities in her ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on July 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. “If we are truly a democracy, it means we have a representative government that reflects the experience and life of all the people in the country and I think we have a lot more work to do,” Harris said.

  • Several former staffers to VP Harris echoed reporting about her office being dysfunctional.
  • Many ex-staffers told Insider that Harris’ previous offices were toxic and unpredictable.
  • One person forwarded a report to their therapist, with a note that read: “Rarely in life are we publicly vindicated.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Several former staffers to Vice President Kamala Harris were not surprised to read reports that her office environment is being called unhealthy and dysfunctional, according to an Insider report published Wednesday.

A bombshell Politico report last month that described a tense workplace at the VP’s White House operation spread “like wildfire” among former aides to Harris, many of whom “recognized themselves” in the story, an ex-staffer told Insider.

“WOW,” a former Harris staffer wrote in response to a text about the article. “That is quite a story. Thank you for flagging.”

One former Harris staffer forwarded the Politico report to their therapist, with a note that read: “Rarely in life are we publicly vindicated.”

That former staffer said they had been seeking therapy once they learned President Joe Biden picked Harris as his running mate to “resolve trauma from the on-the-job abuse” endured when they worked for Harris.

Insider’s Robin Bravender spoke with 12 former Harris staffers about the office culture when Harris was San Francisco’s district attorney, California’s attorney general, and a US senator.

Several ex-staffers described Harris as unpredictable and said that she had a habit of hanging up the phone on her staff. One told Insider that the attorney general’s workplace was “toxic” and “reactionary.”

Some, on the other hand, expressed concerns with the narrative that Harris’ office was abusive and said they had loved working for her. One person described their time in Harris’ previous office as the best experience of their life.

Senior advisors to the vice president have pushed back on the latest reports about her dysfunctional workplace environment.

“There’s not consternation among aides,” Harris’ chief spokesperson Symone Sanders said earlier this month, according to Axios. “That is not true.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also dismissed the reports during a press briefing on July 2.

“I try not to speak to or engage on anonymous reports or anonymous sources,” Psaki said. “I will say that the vice president is an incredibly important partner to the president. She has a challenging job, a hard job. And she has a great, supportive team of people around her. But other than that I’m not going to have any more comments on those reports.”

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McConnell criticizes Texas Democrats for staging a walkout, saying they’ve come ‘to snap selfies and bask in the limelight’

mitch mcconnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., does a cable news interview before the start of a two-week recess, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

  • Mitch McConnell slammed Texas Democrats who fled the state for Washington, DC, this week.
  • McConnell accused them of coming “to snap selfies and bask in the limelight.”
  • The legislators staged a walkout to block a series of GOP-led bills in the state legislature.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had harsh words for Texas Democrats who fled the state Monday for Washington, DC, in a dramatic walkout to block passage of a series of Republican-led bills.

The Kentucky Republican accused the state Democratic lawmakers of coming to the nation’s capital to have a moment in the sun.

The legislators “decided to grab some beer, hop on a private plane and flee the state in what they are pretending is some great moral crusade,” McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, according to CNN’s Manu Raju. “In reality, they’ve just come here to Washington to snap selfies and bask in the limelight.”

The Democratic lawmakers left Texas during a special legislative session to deny the quorum necessary to pass legislation brought forth by Republicans.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott held the special session to push through a slew of his conservative priorities, ranging from voting reform to abortion access.

Texas Democrats specifically aimed to block two key election bills, House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 1, arguing the legislation imposes strict voting rules by requiring voter ID for absentee ballots, bans on drive-thru voting, among other measures.

The state lawmakers this week met with some of the nation’s top leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, to raise concerns about voting rights in the nation. Vice President Kamala Harris threw her support behind their walkout on Monday, saying: “I applaud their standing for the rights of all Americans and all Texans to express their voice through their vote unencumbered.”

Other prominent figures on the right besides McConnell that criticized the walkout include Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who on Tuesday night said the legislators were committing an “insurrection.”

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Kamala Harris: Democratic lawmakers organizing Texas walkout are ‘standing for the rights of all Americans’

Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris during a meeting on voting rights at the TCF Center in Detroit on July 12.

  • Kamala Harris on Monday voiced support for Texas Democrats’ plan to flee the state.
  • They plan to leave the state to block GOP bills by preventing the needed legislative quorum.
  • Harris said the lawmakers showed “extraordinary courage and commitment.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday voiced support for Texas Democrats’ plan to flee the state en masse to prevent the legislative quorum needed to move forward with GOP bills, including new voting restrictions.

“I applaud their standing for the rights of all Americans and all Texans to express their voice through their vote unencumbered,” Harris said Monday at a voting-rights meeting in Detroit, according to CBS News reporter Tim Perry.

“They are leaders who are marching in the path that so many others before did,” she added. “When they fought and many died for our right to vote.”

Harris also said the Texas lawmakers showed “extraordinary courage and commitment,” Perry reported.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, convened a special legislative session on July 8 to push through a list of conservative priorities, including voting reform. Republicans in state legislatures across the US have pushed new and harsher voting restrictions in the wake of the 2020 election, when many states expanded voting access because of the pandemic.

Other priorities in the special session include legislation focused on access to abortion, social-media companies, transgender youth, and the teaching of critical race theory in schools, Insider’s Grace Panetta previously reported.

Texas Democrats walked out of the last legislative session to stop the passage of a voting bill that would’ve introduced criminal penalties for elections officials.

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Biden White House has majority-female staff, narrowed gender pay gap to 1%

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden.

  • President Biden has a majority-female senior staff, according to recently-released figures.
  • Roughly 60 percent of Biden appointees at the White House are women.
  • The president has long been a champion of pay equity, calling it “a moral imperative.”
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

President Joe Biden has significantly closed the White House gender pay gap and hired a majority of women within its senior staff ranks, according to the White House.

The Biden administration released the analysis on Thursday, in an annual report required by Congress detailing the name and salary of every White House employee.

In a fact sheet, the White House indicated that women make up roughly 60 percent of appointees and 56 percent of senior staff, with individuals from racially or ethnically diverse backgrounds making up 44 percent of appointees and 36 percent of senior staff.

The gender pay gap has been reduced to 1 percent, with men making $94,639 on average and women earning an average salary of $93,752.

High-profile staffers including White House chief of staff Ron Klain, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, White House press secretary Jen Psaki, domestic policy advisor Susan Rice, and senior advisor Cedric Richmond all make $180,000 per year.

One of the highest-paid appointees is Molly Groom, the policy advisor for immigration, who earns $185,656.

Read more: Meet 7 BidenWorld longtime consiglieres and a couple relative newcomers who have access to exclusive White House meetings

Biden has long championed pay equity, calling it “a moral imperative.”

“In alignment with the president’s commitment to diversity and pay equity, the White House has taken significant steps to ensure the White House staff reflects the diversity of the country and the highest standards of economic and social justice for all,” the White House said in the fact sheet.

Women make up 50.8 percent of the US population, according to 2019 Census figures, and they comprise of 47 percent of the labor force, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Last year, Biden tapped then-Sen. Kamala Harris of California to be his running mate in the 2020 presidential election, calling himself a “bridge” candidate to a new generation of Democratic Party leaders.

Biden has also committed to nominating the first Black female judge to the US Supreme Court if a vacancy arises during his presidency.

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The White House is reportedly having ‘conversations’ about ways to better aid Harris staffers after reports of office dysfunction

kamala harris
Vice President Kamala Harris attends a virtual roundtable event with participants from local Black Chambers of Commerce on February 5, 2021 in Washington, DC.

The White House has engaged in damage control in seeking to push back against reports of dysfunction within the office of Vice President Kamala Harris, according to five individuals who spoke with CNN.

Two individuals with close ties to Harris’ office told CNN that several staffers within her office are exasperated by what they view as “a dysfunctional operation” rife with internal conflict.

Some of the discontent is laid at the feet of Harris’ chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, according to the individuals.

An additional source said there were “challenges and struggles” in the office and knew of complaints about Flournoy, but refused to chalk it up to dysfunction or that the veteran Democratic strategist was to blame.

However, staffer discontent within Harris’ office was detailed in a recent Politico report, with the outlet speaking to 22 sources, including current and former vice presidential aides.

“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” one source told Politico. “It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s—.”

According to a recent Axios report, several administration officials described Harris’ office as a “s—show.”

In a statement to CNN, Sabrina Singh, the deputy press secretary to Harris, said the vice president is committed to her work.

“The Vice President and her office are focused on the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda to build an economy from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down, to making sure racial equity is at the core of everything the Administration does, to combatting the existential threat of climate change, and to continue protecting the American people from the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday dismissed the reports, stressing the positive relationship between Biden and Harris.

“I will say that the vice president is an incredibly important partner to the President of the United States,” she said. “She has a challenging job, a hard job, and she has a great supportive team of people around her. But other than that, I’m not going to have any more comments on those reports.”

Read More: Michigan’s Democrats in Congress face an ethics complaint after hanging with Biden and voting from afar

However, there are now ongoing conversations at the White House about ways “to better support Harris’ team,” a source told CNN.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain, a friend of Flournoy, released a statement to CNN defending Harris and her staff.

“Vice President Harris and her team are off to the fastest and strongest start of any Vice President I have seen,” he said. “She’s delivering for the American people on immigration, small business, voting rights, and economic growth. The President’s trust and confidence in her is obvious when you see them in the Oval Office together.”

Harris, who served as San Francisco District Attorney and California Attorney General before joining the Senate from 2017 to 2021, has been a steady presence alongside Biden during congressional negotiations over COVID-19 relief and infrastructure legislation.

However, she has also received blowback from her immigration efforts at the US-Mexico border, with over 50 House Republicans calling for Biden to remove her from the diplomatic assignment.

Harris and her staff have stressed that their diplomatic work is focused on Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. However, Republicans have sought to shift broader concerns about the border onto Harris, despite the administration emphasizing that she is not a “czar” in charge of managing the border.

A source with ties to the White House said that while there was a lot of work to be done, staffers were driven to fulfill the administration’s agenda.

“I think everybody is just feeling overwhelmed,” the source said. “But for the most part, people are focused on the mission.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden administration officials privately describe VP Kamala Harris’ office as a ‘s—show,’ report says

Vice President Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to the Generation Equality Forum in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus, Wednesday, June 30, 2021, in Washington.

  • Biden administration officials are privately calling VP Harris’ office “a s—show,” Axios reports.
  • Top Biden officials are circling the wagons around Harris’ operartion as internal discord boils over.
  • Recent reports in Politico and CNBC detail unhappiness from Harris staffers, allies, and donors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Top White House officials are publicly circling the wagons around Vice President Kamala Harris’ operation while privately calling the chaos in her office as a “s—show,” Axios reports.

Long-simmering unhappiness in Harris’ office and tensions between her staff and President Joe Biden’s boiled over in a recent report from Politico. The outlet spoke with 22 sources, including current and former Harris staffers, who described poor morale and communication breakdowns within the vice president’s office.

“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” one source told Politico. “It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s—.”

Some key aides and staffers were left completely in the dark when it came to the planning of Harris’ trip to the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, Politico reported. Two advance staffers also recently departed from Harris’ office.

Read more: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s former staffers detail a ‘demoralizing’ office environment where they were afraid to ‘mess up in any way’ while working for the Arizona Democrat

Politico and CNBC also reported on complaints about how Harris’ chief of staff, the seasoned Democratic power player Tina Flournoy, tightly guards access to Harris, including not returning calls and attempts at outreach from Harris’ longtime political allies, friends, and donors.

“We are not making rainbows and bunnies all day. What I hear is that people have hard jobs and I’m like ‘welcome to the club,'” Harris’ chief spokeswoman Symone Sanders told Politico in response, defending Flournoy as having “an open door policy” and calling her anonymous critics “cowards.”

Former President Bill Clinton stepped in with a statement to CNBC backing up Flournoy as “an extraordinary person” with “a unique ability to focus on the big picture and adapt to changing conditions.” Flournoy was known to closely guard access to Clinton during her time as his chief of staff in his post-presidential life, which some Democrats acknowledge is a necessary aspect of staffing a figure like a president or vice president.

Both White House Chief of staff Ron Klain and White House senior advisor Cedric Richmond also went on record to defend Harris and her office operation to Axios, with Richmond charging that Harris is the victim of “a whisper campaign designed to sabotage her.”

The discord being reported out of Harris’ office highlights the sharp divergence between the VP’s office and the nearly leak-proof operation that Biden runs.

The reported dysfunction within her operation and Flournoy’s iron grip over Harris’ political operation echoes some of the breakdowns that befell her 2020 presidential campaign. Per Axios, it’s causing some Democrats to question whether Harris could run a successful presidential campaign in 2024 if Biden, who is 78, decides to retire.

As the sitting vice president, Harris would be Biden’s natural successor. But Axios reports that some Democrats both within and outside the White House “are increasingly concerned about Harris’s handling of high-profile issues and political tone deafness,” including her missteps around immigration.

“‘Oh, no, our heir apparent is f***ing up, what are we gonna do?’ It’s more that people think, ‘Oh, she’s f***ing up, maybe she shouldn’t be the heir apparent,'” one Democratic source told Axios.

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VP Kamala Harris’ spokesperson Symone Sanders pushes back against claims of secrecy and strife in office: ‘We are not making rainbows and bunnies all day’

This image shows Symone Sanders, the spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris.
Symone Sanders, spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris.

  • Symone Sanders, advisor and spokesperson for Kamala Harris, rejected reports about the VP’s office.
  • Reports this week suggested communication with Harris is rarely granted to allies.
  • Sanders defended Harris’ chief of staff Tina Fournoy and said Fournoy has an “open door policy.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Symone Sanders, the chief spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris, on Wednesday pushed back against reports the VP’s office has limited communication with key allies.

Reports from CNBC and Politico alleged Tina Flournoy, Harris’ chief of staff, has isolated Harris’ allies in recent months, and is highly selective in granting access to the VP among members of her inner circle.

Flournoy is a Washington politics veteran, having worked in the Democratic National Committee and in former President Bill Clinton’s administration.

The reports said Flournoy routinely directs policy questions, such as ones related to immigration, to Harris’ senior advisers, and that donors and some of Harris’ longtime political allies who spoke anonymously feel frozen out.

Sanders defended Flournoy, according to Politico and said Flournoy has an “open door policy.”

“Black women like me would not have the opportunity to work in politics without Tina,” Sanders said, calling sources who anonymously criticized Flournoy “cowards.”

“We are not making rainbows and bunnies all day. What I hear is that people have hard jobs and I’m like ‘welcome to the club,'” Sanders told Politico.

“We have created a culture where people, if there is anything anyone would like to raise, there are avenues for them to do so. Whoever has something they would like to raise, they should raise it directly.”

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Kamala Harris will travel to the US-Mexico border on Friday, per report

kamala harris
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a news conference on Tuesday in Mexico City, Mexico.

  • Kamala Harris will travel to the US-Mexico border on Friday, The Washington Post reported.
  • She will visit the border with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, per The Post.
  • Republicans have attacked Harris for not personally taking a trip to the border.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to the US-Mexico border on Friday, according to a Washington Post report on Wednesday.

Harris will visit the border with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, two sources familiar with the trip told The Post. The trip has not yet been made public.

Harris’ upcoming visit comes as Republicans continue to attack the Biden administration over its handling of the rise in migrants at the southern border.

President Joe Biden tapped Harris in March as the administration’s point-person on immigration affairs while the border saw a rapid uptick in migrants. Since then, Republicans have repeatedly attacked Harris for not personally taking a trip to the southern border.

Harris earlier this month traveled to Mexico and Guatemala, where she met with top officials to discuss the underlying causes of migration. The Biden administration has warned prospective migrants not to travel to the US-Mexico border.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Trump will travel to the US-Mexico border with a group of House Republicans next week, per report

trump us mexico border
Former President Donald Trump participates in a ceremony commemorating the 200th mile of border wall at the international border with Mexico in San Luis, Arizona, June 23, 2020.

  • Trump will travel to the US-Mexico border next Wednesday with a group of House Republicans.
  • The former president’s trip comes amid GOP attacks on the Biden administration over its border policies.
  • Trump made immigration a central issue of his campaign and administration.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump will visit the US-Mexico border next week along with about a dozen House Republicans, according to a Politico report on Wednesday.

The lawmakers are members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a conservative caucus in the House GOP that also met with Trump at his Bedminster club in New Jersey earlier this month, per Politico.

The upcoming border trip comes as Republicans have attacked the Biden administration for months over its handling of an uptick in migrants at the US-Mexico border.

“President Trump spent four years fixing the border. But the Biden administration broke it again, and we are now experiencing the worst border crisis in our history,” GOP Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana told Politico. “That’s why the RSC has made carrying on the Trump legacy on immigration our top priority this Congress and why we are heading to the border with President Trump to explain how we can end this national embarrassment.”

Trump announced last week that he accepted an invitation from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for an “official visit” to the southern border on June 30.

The former president made immigration and the creation of a “border wall” a central issue of his campaign and his administration. Since leaving office, he’s kept that rhetoric alive. The trip is another break from the modern precedent that former presidents step back from public life and don’t politically attack the current office holder, especially outside of an election year.

“The Biden Administration inherited from me the strongest, safest, and most secure border in U.S history and in mere weeks they turned it into the single worst border crisis in U.S history,” Trump said last Tuesday in a statement released through his leadership PAC, Save America. Details of the trip’s exact location have not yet been announced.

Trump’s ex-spokesperson Jason Miller previously teased in March that the former president was considering a trip to the border at some point, but was waiting for President Joe Biden to “fail on his own” first.

Many Republicans have blamed the rise in migrants at the border on Biden’s rollback of Trump-era immigration policies. Yet Biden has pushed back on the criticism, previously saying that the surge happens “every year” and pointing to factors like natural disasters, violence, and poverty as reasons behind it. He has warned prospective migrants not to come to the border as his administration works on reforming the US’ immigration policy.

Top GOP members have also blasted Vice President Kamala Harris for not personally taking a trip to the border, though she and the White House have responded that other administration officials have gone down on several occasions. Harris recently traveled to Mexico and Guatemala, where she met with leaders to discuss and address the underlying causes of migration.

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