Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a dinner party for a bipartisan group of female senators at her official Washington, DC, residence on Tuesday — amid a tense political atmosphere of critical votes in Congress looming and a border crisis raging on Harris’ watch.
She invited the 24 senators — 16 Democrats and eight Republicans — to share the meal at the Naval Observatory against the backdrop of intense negotiations over President Biden’s agenda in Congress.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) posted pictures of the gathering on her Twitter account showing the group of senators sitting around a table.
The women dined on a summer garden salad with hearts of palm, avocado and grape tomatoes, and roasted mahi-mahi with ginger-cilantro basmati rice and grilled vegetables, Politico reported.
Warm strawberry-rhubarb croustades with vanilla ice cream was served for dessert.
Another photo showed Harris addressing the group, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) seated next to her.
Three senators — Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — did not attend.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who broke bread with the other women, appeared later on Fox News and lauded Harris for being a gracious host, but said a substantive policy discussion wasn’t on the menu.
“But if she had brought up policies, I would’ve loved to have said, ‘Madam Vice President, you need to get to the border. You need to talk to the Border Patrol,’” Blackburn told Sean Hannity.
Tuesday marked the 82nd day since Biden announced Harris would be the administration’s point person on responding to the crisis of record illegal crossings at the US’ southern border.
In that period, Harris has yet to visit the border.
Earlier this month, Harris did travel to Mexico and Guatemala to speak with leaders about the “root causes” of illegal immigration, a trip that led to some questionable and cringe-worthy comments from the vice president.
One notable exchange took place during an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt.
“At some point, you know, we are going to the border,” she told Holt in the interview conducted in Guatemala.
“We’ve been to the border. So this whole thing about the border, we’ve been to the border,” Harris said.
Holt replied, “You haven’t been to the border.”
Harris responded: “And I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.”
Reports later emerged that the White House was “perplexed” at the exchange and concerned that it would overshadow her other efforts.
Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Blackburn, Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Murkowski, Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Stabenow, Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) attended.
Doug Emhoff, Harris’ husband, was nowhere to be seen.