Perry-Obama: Meeting, Yet Not of Minds

Rick perry

Updated at 2:45 pm EDT

President Barack Obama is open to meeting with Texas Gov. Rick Perry. And vice versa.

“The president would welcome a meeting with you while he is in Texas,” senior adviser Valerie Jarrett wrote to the Republican governor yesterday.

Perry, who has passed up an opportunity to welcome the president on the tarmac when he lands in Dallas for some Democratic Party fundraisers on Wednesday — before heading on to Austin for more fundraising — had suggested Obama seek a different destination. Texas lawmakers have written their own letters of invitation to the White House.

The Austin American-Statesman has reported that Perry wanted a private meeting with the president on the surge of tens of thousands of children, mainly from Central America, crossing the U.S. border. But he wasn’t accepting the president’s invitation to a round-table talk in Dallas — at first, that is. And it seems the invitation was reversed in the acceptance.

“Governor Perry is pleased that President Obama has accepted his invitation to discuss the humanitarian and national security crises along our southern border, and he looks forward to meeting with the president tomorrow,” Lucy Nashed, a Perry spokeswoman, told Bloomberg News in an e-mail.

“More than 52,000 unaccompanied children arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border from Oct. 1 through June 15, about double the total in a similar period a year,” as Roger Runningen reports. Obama will be asking Congress today to approve almost $4 billion to contain the surge of illegal Central American migrants entering the U.S.

Perry, who made a run at the Republican nomination for president in 2012 and is eyeing another bid as he prepares to step aside as governor at year’s end, has questioned the president’s commitment to the problem.

“I don’t believe he particularly cares whether or not the border of the United States is secure,” Perry said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” calling Obama either “inept” or had an “ulterior motive” in failing to secure the border.

Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold, no fan of the president’s, suggests that the border crisis is “Obama’s Katrina” — thousands of people holed up in over-stressed emergency quarters. It was former President George W. Bush who traveled to the West Coast initially following the onslaught of Katrina on the Gulf Coast, only to peer at the damage from a flyover of Air Force One en route home to Washington. He flew to the area days later for a tour, complimenting then FEMA chief Michael Brown for a “heckuva job.”

As Obama makes the round of fundraisers in Texas while others call on him to visit the border, the White House has said it’s not worried about “those optics.’‘ The press secretary says the president is fully “aware” of the crisis and acting on it.

The letter to Perry from the White House last night advised Perry that Obama would welcome a meeting planned with faith leaders and local elected officials in Dallas on Wednesday. Jarrett noted that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has been to the border five times and plans a return trip Friday. It noted the White House and Cabinet officials who have accompanied him.

Obama and Perry will join faith leaders and state and local officials tomorrow in Dallas to discuss the migrant crisis on the border and how best to contain it. Obama will be on a three-day fundraising trip for Democrats in Colorado and Texas yet still has no plans to visit the border, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

 

Meanwhile, Perry’s been having meetings of his own in Austin.

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