President Barack Obama and Texas Gov. Rick Perry will meet this week after all.
The Republican governor turned down an offer Monday from the White House to meet Obama for a quick handshake when Air Force One lands in the Lone Star State on Wednesday. Perry instead requested a meeting with the president behind closed doors to discuss the influx of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Obama administration then invited Perry to discuss the ongoing border security crisis with the president, and Perry accepted.
“Gov. 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,” Perry’s Press Secretary Lucy Nashed told NBC News Tuesday.
More than 52,000 unaccompanied minors have fled Central American countries since October, walking alone across the border. But Perry, who is openly considering a 2016 presidential bid, recently reiterated his claim that Obama is somehow orchestrating the current crisis. During an interview last weekend, Perry said the president refused to answer the letter he sent to him in 2012 about the southwestern border crisis.
“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 in a letter to Obama Monday. “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.”
Obama will travel to Texas for Democratic fundraisers this week, but he has no plans to visit the border.