Psaki ultimately could not explain why Harris can not visit the border but did note that the logistics of a presidential or vice-presidential to the border would involve having to move children out of facilities.
"So, look, but if the — if a President or a Vice President goes down and visits a facility like this, you have to potentially clear some parts out; there’s a lot of security that comes," Psaki explained. "Our focus here is on solutions, on making progress, on moving these kids out of these facilities, on getting them connected with sponsor homes with — with family members if possible. And that’s really where the President — the President’s focus is at this point in time."
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS: First, Vice President Harris says that she’s not gone to the border yet because “We have to deal with COVID issues.” What is she referring to?
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE: Well, I would certainly have to ask her team about that specifically, but I would tell you also that her focus is not on the border; it’s on addressing the root causes in the Northern Triangle. And that’s why the majority of her time has been spent on working with — on a diplomatic level.
She is going to speak — have a bilateral meeting with the President of Guatemala this afternoon. She’s going to speak with the President of Mexico next week. And she’s working with them to ensure there are systems put in place to reduce the amount of migration coming from these countries, but also to address the root causes. And that’s really what the President has asked her to do.
DOOCY: Then, I guess, if not with regard to her specific statement, is there a White House concern — when you guys were planning presidential or vice presidential travel — more about COVID at the border than other places that she has traveled recently?
We certainly know that the number of people who were in facilities — the reason we have been so focused on expediting moving kids out of these Border Patrol facilities is because we want to reduce the public health impact in these facilities and get them into spaces where we can do social distancing and where we can ensure these kids have access to health — you know, health and medical experts and educational resources.
So that’s certainly — and we’ve made some progress on that front even over the last few weeks, since you got married, I will say, on that exact issue.
So, look, but if the — if a President or a Vice President goes down and visits a facility like this, you have to potentially clear some parts out; there’s a lot of security that comes. Our focus here is on solutions, on making progress, on moving these kids out of these facilities, on getting them connected with sponsor homes with — with family members if possible. And that’s really where the President — the President’s focus is at this point in time.
Q And then, about those facilities: There was a report in the last couple of days in the New York Post that every migrant child being brought to a shelter is being given a copy of her children’s book, “Superheroes are Everywhere.” Do you know why that is and if she is making any money off of that?
MS. PSAKI: Of the President — of the Vice President’s —
Q The Vice President’s book. Yeah.
MS. PSAKI: I’d have to check with our Health and Human Services team if — you’re talking about if they go to shelters or if they go —
Q Yeah. In the welcome kit, apparently, there’s a copy of her 2019 children’s book, “Superheroes are Everywhere.”
MS. PSAKI: I’d have to certainly check on that. I hear it’s a good book.
Q And then — (laughs) — and then I’ve got one more. Why was President Biden the only world leader at the Climate Summit Zoom who was wearing a mask?
MS. PSAKI: Because he is sending a message to the world that he is putting in place precautions and continuing to do that as leader of the United States. And I don’t know what setups they all had in their countries — that may warrant some more reporting or not. But obviously, he had a pool there for portions. There were additional staff there, additional personnel. And that’s the sort of model that we try to keep ourselves to here.
Q But I know the CDC’s website and their guidance is that you can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart, so —
MS. PSAKI: That’s actually for — in your private home, so it’s not workplace guidance. And we still wear masks around here, just like you are all wearing masks. And we wear masks in our offices and continue to abide by that until that guidance changes here.