President Barack Obama won’t be greeted by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) when Air Force One lands Wednesday in Austin.
Perry, who has been critical of the President’s handling of the influx of undocumented migrants at the Texas border, said the White House extended an invitation for him to greet Obama at Austin-Bergstrom Airport. But Perry wrote a letter Monday to the President that rejected the traditional handshake in favor of a private meeting.
“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,” Perry wrote, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal. “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.”
Perry’s refusal to greet the President upon his arrival may preclude the sort of awkward tarmac tiff Obama experienced with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) in 2012, although the Texas governor apparently has subtler ways of getting his point across. Perry slipped a letter requesting more border security to a White House adviser when he met the President in 2010 at an Austin airport, according to the Journal.
Obama is slated to visit Dallas and Austin on Wednesday for a pair of Democratic fundraisers. White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett replied to Perry by inviting the governor to a round table discussion on border issues that Obama plans to attend in Dallas, according to the Austin American-Statesman. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday during a press briefing that Perry had agreed to attend the meeting.
This post has been updated.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.