Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales blistered President Joe Biden after the president excluded the congressman from a tour of facilities and spots on the U.S. southern border.
Gonzales’ district, TX-23, covers a large swath of southwest Texas and includes more than half of the state’s total border with Mexico. The district stretches from El Paso County to La Salle County over 500 miles away.
Biden’s team rejected Gonzales’ request to join the president’s entourage on Sunday as Biden met with local and Border Patrol officials in El Paso over the immigration crisis.
“I find it insulting that President Biden blames space constraints for ignoring my request to accompany him on a visit to El Paso County, which I represent in Congress,” Gonzales told Fox News. “For two years, this administration has pointed fingers at Republicans for not wanting to act in a bipartisan manner on border policy.”
“In contrast, by not inviting Republicans on this trip, specifically the Republican member who represents El Paso, it shows they are not willing to work across the aisle to fix the crisis at our southern border,” he said.
A White House spokesperson said that Gonzales’ request was denied because of “space constraints” on the president’s company.
“As is often the case with presidential trips, we received multiple requests from lawmakers to join the President on this trip and were not able to accommodate all requests, from Republicans and Democrats alike, due to space constraints,” the spokesperson said, according to Fox News. “Our legislative affairs team has been and will continue to remain in close touch with these lawmakers.”
Biden made his first presidential visit to the U.S. southern border on Sunday, stopping over in El Paso while on his way to a summit of North American leaders in Mexico City. Biden is expected to discuss the unprecedented surge in illegal immigration into the U.S. as well as other issues under his presidency in meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Biden’s stopover in El Paso lasted a day as the president toured the city, which has attracted national media attention because of masses of illegal migrants that are living on its streets, and a small portion of the U.S. border. Biden’s tour appeared to miss some of the more severe impacts of the immigration crisis; migrant camps in the city were reportedly cleared ahead of his visit and his official itinerary missed tours of some heavily impacted areas.
This is El Paso before Biden's visit and after his announcement he was coming to El Paso. We needed him to see what his policies have done to our Border cities and South Texas is still waiting for his Border visit.
Photos: Fit Fam El Paso pic.twitter.com/kLbOpBleEh
— Mayra Flores (@MayraFlores2022) January 8, 2023