Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera came to the defense of Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday after his co-panelists criticized the veep amid her controversial two-day trip to Mexico and Guatemala in the wake on an ongoing migrant crisis.
“I deeply admire her,” Rivera said during a June 8 airing of “The Five.”
Rivera’s defense of Harris comes after NBC anchor Lester Holt grilled Harris in an interview about why she hasn’t visited the border herself.
“You haven’t been to the border,” Holt pressed Harris on Tuesday.
“And I haven’t been to Europe,” Harris responded, laughing. She claimed repeatedly that she traveled to the two countries as part of an effort to tackle the root causes driving migrants from Central America to the United States as the number of people attempting to cross the southern border from Mexico into the U.S. continues to grow.
The exchange, as well as the vice president’s stern warning that Guatemalans not attempt to make the trek to the U.S.-Mexico border, caused Harris to receive backlash from both sides of the aisle.
Reacting to Harris’ “Europe” defense, co-host Jesse Watters said “I haven’t been to Europe” will be his new excuse for everything. “She’s wasting time,” he continued, adding that the idea that she’s in Guatemala to figure out how to solve the “root causes” of immigration is a “cop-out.”
As the co-hosts continued to joke that Harris was so nervous during the interview that you could audibly hear a gulp picked up by the microphone and suggested that even “media training” wouldn’t be able to correct a similar situation, Rivera interjected.
“I deeply really admire her,” Rivera said as another off-camera commentator scoffed. “No, I do,” Rivera responded. “She’s a historic figure.”
“That’s not enough though,” another co-host said, laughing.
Rivera called Harris’ trip a “disaster” and said the vice president has a tendency to have an “unpleasant” demeanor when under pressure, but added that he thinks she can recover and “mature in office.”
But co-host Katie Pavlich was clearly not as optimistic about Harris or her handling of the situation.
“Well this is what happens when you choose your vice president based on gender and skin color rather than actual talent and expertise,” she said.
“That’s so mean, Rivera responded. “She was the attorney general of the state of California, she was a United States senator. You can’t demean her.”
Pavlich squeezed in a final jab at Harris by claiming that during the election season she “had zero votes and had to drop out of the race before they started taking votes,” before introducing the next segment.
While Republicans have criticized Harris for failing to visit the border amid a surge in migrants coming to the southern border to enter the U.S., particularly unaccompanied minors, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also slammed the vice president for her message that Guatemalans who seek to enter the United States via the border will be turned away. “First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival,” she wrote in a tweet this week.