Governor Rick Perry, who has been leading the charge to blame President Obama for the current border crisis, has extended his petty behavior to the President's upcoming trip to Texas this week.
President Obama invited Perry to greet him upon his arrival at the Austin airport on Wednesday–but Perry refused. Said Perry:
“I appreciate the offer to greet you at Austin-Bergstrom Airport, but a quick handshake on the tarmac will not allow for a thoughtful discussion regarding the humanitarian and national security crises enveloping the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. I would instead offer to meet with you at any time during your visit to Texas for a substantive meeting to discuss this critical issue.”
The Obama administration has not been taking Rick Perry's concerns very seriously, with good reason, since most are just political talking points without substance. It seems like Perry thought the administration would continue to ignore him, and he could score political points with future 2016 primary voters by making a fuss about refusing to shake hands with Obama.
Instead, the Obama administration called his bluff.
Rick Perry thought the Obama administration would dismiss his request for a meeting to discuss the border crisis, just as they've dismissed his claims that the influx of refugee children is an Obama-run conspiracy, and that the best way to address the issue is to bully Latin American countries. Instead, the Obama administration met Perry's request by saying, “All right, let's have a meeting.”
White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett wrote the following response to Rick Perry:
“The president would welcome a meeting with you while he is in Texas. In addition, he asked me to invite you to join him for a meeting to discuss the situation on the border with faith leaders and local elected officials in Dallas on Wednesday.”
For his part, Perry agreed to attend the meeting in Dallas today to discuss the current border situation with the president. There's still no word on whether he plans to confront President Obama with his conspiracy theories face-to-face.
In addition, Valerie Jarrett's response to Rick Perry provided him with the substantive policy steps the administration has taken, and a suggestion of what he could do to help:
“The president hopes you will join him in urging Congress to quickly pass the emergency funding to deal with the current situation at the border. In addition, the administration continues to press Congress for action on a comprehensive immigration reform.”
Given the ideas Rick Perry has been spouting lately, getting his support for comprehensive immigration reform seems unlikely. But it's an honest response from the Obama administration to Perry's request for substance, and it highlights Perry's inaction thus far.
What began as a petty attempt by Rick Perry to score political points for his future presidential run ended up getting Perry roped into a meeting with President Obama where he'll have to defend his outrageous positions on immigration. Instead of a public snub, Perry's going to actually be sitting next to the president, collaborating on a real, important issue. Looks like Rick Perry miscalculated this one–or as Rick Perry would put it, “Oops.”