Texas Gov. Rick Perry jumped on the “Katrina” wagon Thursday, comparing an influx of Central American refugees to the devastating 2005 hurricane that killed more than 1,800 Americans and nearly destroyed New Orleans.
The comparison, used by other Republicans in recent days, is not to meant to highlight the significance of the border crisis. Instead it is an attempt to portray President Obama as out of touch in much the same way that his predecessor George Bush was seen when he decided to fly over Louisiana as tens of millions of residents were suffering, sick or left homeless.
“I think about the criticism that George W. Bush received when he didn’t go to New Orleans [during] Katrina, this is no different,” Perry said.
Perry, who has said he is considering another presidential run, decided to publicly slam Obama just hours after the two men met in Dallas. The president described the meeting positively at a news conference Wednesday evening, even saying that he found Perry’s concerns to be “sensible.”
Obama said much of the resources Perry sought in order to improve border security could be met if Congress passed a nearly $3.7 billion supplemental the president asked for earlier this week.
But Republicans and Perry focused only on the president’s decision not to appear at the border personally. Obama, who attended fundraisers in Texas, said he wouldn’t engage in political “theater.”
“I said Mr. President, I said, ‘I really want you to come and see this because this is important for you to absorb as a father, but more importantly as president of the United States,” Perry told Fox host Sean Hannity. “He needs to understand instinctively and intuitively and with his own two eyes what’s going on on the border.”
At a fundraiser Wednesday night, the president said that he and Perry agreed on what to do in response to the border crisis and pushed Congressional Republicans to act on the emergency appropriations bill that he’s asked them to pass.
“I enjoyed meeting with Governor Perry. And, by the way, he had some suggestions that I said I actually agree with – which is why they’re in the supplemental bill that I just sent to Congress,” Obama said at a Democratic fundraiser in Dallas. “Why don’t you get the Texas Republican Delegation to pass it. Because the question is are we interested in political gamesmanship or are we actually trying to solve a problem.”