On MSNBC Wednesday, Andrea Mitchell and her two guests hammered the president for his egregious mishandling of his trip to Texas Wednesday, agreeing that his “mystifying” refusal to visit the border and tone deaf decision to play pool with the governor of Colorado made it seem like he was “running away” from his political responsibilities.
Leading into the segment by saying “the crisis on the border is not going away,” Mitchell invite on Washington Post editorial columnist Ruth Marcus and The Atlantic political writer Molly Ball to comment on Obama’s decision to shoot pool with Colorado’s governor instead of going to the border to see firsthand the reality of the immigration crisis.
Pointing out that Rep. Henry Cuellar is a Democratic congressman—“on their side”—and yet still “shocked at the president’s decision to shoot pool and drink beer” with Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper, Mitchell criticized Obama for the tactless "photo op":
Mitchell: If you're not going to go to the border, this was not the moment to do that kind of photo op.
Marcus responded by calling the president’s clear attempt to avoid being seen at the border “mystifying” and “weird”:
Marcus: Any way you look at it, I think the polite way to say it is it's a little mystifying that the president obviously does not want to be seen assessing the situation, meeting with some of these children and families that are streaming across the border. And it's a little bit weird because it seems like he is already in a hole and he's keeping on digging.
Mitchell then played a clip of Rep. Cuellar blasting the “aloof and detached” president for refusal to go to the border, choosing instead to send his surrogates and “say he’s got everything under control.”
Mitchell: This is a White House that is usually very good at photo opportunities. That is why it is all the more surprising.
Ball agreed saying that the truth is the president now has “little political capital” within his party, made all the worse by “running away” from the border:
Ball: It is really amazing how little political capital the president seems to have with this own party. And, privately, a lot of Democrats are saying what the congressman said, which is they just don't understand it. Apparently, the White House does not want to take ownership of this crisis. But ,you know, when you're the president, you own things whether you like it or not, and to seem like you are running away from something that is politically toxic is not a very good look for a White House that should be seeming in control.