White House: Biden drove by border on 2008 campaign trip

The White House said Friday that President BidenJoe BidenMarcus Garvey's descendants call for Biden to pardon civil rights leader posthumously GOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors MORE drove by the U.S. southern border with Mexico during a 2008 campaign trip, after the president said during a CNN town hall Thursday that he had been to the border.

“There has been reporting that he did drive through the border when he was on the campaign trail in 2008 and he is certainly familiar with the fact – and it stuck with him – with the fact that in El Paso the border goes right through the center of town,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden, Putin to talk next week amid military buildup in Ukraine Epidemic of smash-and-grab crime is definitely man-made US intelligence says Russia planning Ukraine offensive involving 175K troops: reports MORE told reporters on Friday, referring to reports from NBC News and The Washington Post.

“The president has worked on these issues throughout his entire career and is well-versed in every aspect of our immigration system, including the border,” Psaki added.

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Psaki highlighted Biden’s work on the immigration issue when he was vice president, noting that he went to Mexico and Central America several times and also worked with a bipartisan group of senators in an effort to advance immigration reform.

Psaki also minimized the need for Biden to stage a “photo op” at the border to show that his administration is serious about tackling immigration issues.

“He does not need a visit to the border to know what a mess was left by the last administration,” Psaki said during an exchange with Fox News’s Peter Doocy. 

When Doocy pressed her on whether the 2008 stop “counts” as a visit, Psaki responded by again pointing out Biden’s travel to Mexico and Central America to address the root causes of an increased flow of migrants at the border. 

“There is a focus right now on a photo op. The president does not believe a photo op is the same as solutions,” Psaki said. “That may be a difference he has with Republicans.” 

Republicans and conservative commentators, including those on Fox News, have hammered Biden over the flow of migrants at the southern border since early on in his presidency when border crossings began to rise. 

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Biden has also faced pushback from some Democrats over his administration’s continued use of Title 42, a public health rule that allows the administration to expel most migrants. 

During the CNN town hall in Baltimore on Thursday evening, Biden was asked by a college-aged audience member why he hadn’t been to the border.

“I've been there before, and I haven't — I mean, I know it well. I guess I should go down. But the — but the whole point of it is: I haven't had a whole hell of lot of time to get down,” Biden answered. 

Vice President Harris, who Biden has tapped to address the root causes of migration, visited the border in June.