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Column: Vice President Kamala Harris’ charm offensive turned mostly offensive

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez actually was being kind when she described Vice President Kamala Harris’ “Do not come” message to undocumented Central American migrants as “disappointing.” “Embarrassing” would have been closer to the point.

On her first foreign trip as vice president, at a news conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, Harris spoke about such “root causes” as crime, poverty and corruption that drive the recent tide of disparate migrants from the “Northern Triangle” of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador in Central America.

On behalf of the administration, the former California senator offered new economic aid and programs to partner with government and civil society to investigate corruption and human trafficking and a future in which Guatemalans and others can find “hope at home.”

But that was overshadowed in the news coverage and public conversations by her blunt and, in tone, callous declaration that, “I want to be clear to folks in the region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border. Do not come. Do not come.”

She arrived as a bridge-builder but turned into a........

© Chicago Tribune

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