Newsom’s trip, less than one week after Biden said he had “more important things going on” than to stop at the southern border during a trip to Arizona, is likely to fuel speculation around the governor’s national ambitions.
It comes as Biden faces heightened scrutiny over a soon-to-lapse pandemic-era health protocol that allowed border officials to expel immigrants crossing into the U.S. illegally rapidly. The president has yet to visit the border since taking office.
Newsom was there “to discuss immigration reform and [his] commitment to supporting immigrant communities and the border region,” according to his office.
“Newsom toured a testing, vaccination, and resource center and was joined by the Governor of Baja California, Marina del Pilar Avila Olmeda, to visit a migrant shelter in Mexicali,” said Newsom’s communications director Erin Mellon.
His office did not respond to a question about whether he notified the White House in advance of his trip.
The Democratic governor left the state of California Monday and was set to return later in the day.
Newsom has urged Biden to wield him as a political tool.
The governor last month told Politico that he stands firmly behind Biden’s reelection and was overheard telling the president, “I’m all in; put me in, coach. We have your back.”