Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip

Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip
© Getty Images
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee say they are not going on Vice President Pence’s trip to the U.S.-Mexico border this week.
Pence announced earlier this week that he was inviting a bipartisan delegation from the Judiciary panel to go with him on Friday to McAllen, Texas, which sits near the border in the Rio Grande Valley.
But nine of the 10 Democrats on the panel, or their staff, told The Hill that they are not going on the trip.
Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker Joint chiefs nominee: Trump's transgender policy about 'standards' MORE (D-Hawaii) — whose spokesman confirmed she would not go on the trip — suggested to CNN's "New Day" that she viewed the Pence trip as political. 
"I don't want to participate in what is basically the Trump show, the Trump-Pence show," Hirono said. 
Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats pledge to fight Trump detention policy during trip to border Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations MORE (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, confirmed that he was invited, but isn't going. Asked if any Democrats on the committee were going, he added that he didn't "know of any yet." 
Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyPoll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Democrats grill USDA official on relocation plans that gut research staff Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens MORE (D-Vt.), a former chairman and currently a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, appeared unaware that Pence was planning to invite a bipartisan delegation from the committee. 
“Oh really? First I’m hearing about it," he said.
Spokespeople for Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage Protect American patients and innovation from a harmful MedTech Tax increase MORE (D-Minn.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Harris voices support for Puerto Rico protesters: 'I stand with them' What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much MORE (D-Calif.), who are both running for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination, as well as Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Senate passes bill making hacking voting systems a federal crime Overnight Energy: Scientists flee USDA as research agencies move to Kansas City area | Watchdog finds EPA skirted rules to put industry reps on boards | New rule to limit ability to appeal pollution permits MORE (D-R.I.), said the three senators will not go on the trip. 
A spokeswoman for Pence didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about who is attending or if there would be an effort to invite Democrats beyond the Senate panel.
Several senators indicated they had scheduling conflicts that would prevent them from going. 
Asked if he was going, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said, "I don't think I can make it." 
A spokesperson for the panel's 10th Democrat, Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Cory Booker talks about 'geeking out' over Rosario Dawson's Marvel role Harris faces pressure to define policy proposals MORE (D-N.J.), who is also running for president, didn't respond to questions about if he will go on the trip. 
The lack of Democratic participation comes after Pence announced on Monday that he would be visiting the border with a bipartisan delegation from the Judiciary Committee.
“On Friday, @SecondLady & I will travel to the U.S./ Mexico border at McAllen, TX with a bipartisan delegation of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” the vice president tweeted Monday afternoon. “The Senate passed bipartisan humanitarian relief - but much more must be done to SECURE our border & end this crisis!”
Congress passed legislation to provide more than $4.5 billion in new border money, including nearly $3 billion in humanitarian aide. 
But the administration, and their Republican allies, argue further action is needed, including changes to the country's asylum laws.
Pence has repeatedly called on Congress to act to improve conditions at the border. He said, “We’ve got to get to the root causes” of the reported conditions in border facilities in an interview last month.

"No American should approve of this mass influx of people coming across our border," Pence told CNN. "I was at the detention center in Nogales, [Ariz.]. ... It is a heartbreaking scene. These are people who are being exploited by human traffickers. ... Congress has to act."