President Obama travels to Texas Tuesday to tour the U.S. southern border with Mexico for the first time as president, and though it is customary for governors to greet the president at the airport or even accompany the commanders in chief during state visits, he will not meet with Governor Rick Perry, R-Texas, on this trip.
An aide to Governor Perry tells Fox News' Mike Emanuel the White House wanted the governor to greet president Obama in El Paso. But Governor Perry, who lives and works in Austin, suggested the two meet there and possibly take an aerial tour of recent wild fire damage in Texas. Perry's spokesperson Catherine Frazier tells Fox News, "We are unable to meet the president on the tarmac out in El Paso, as the White House offered. We did alternatively offer to meet or greet the president when he arrives in Austin, or arrange a flyover of wildfire damage, but the White House declined."
Perry has criticized the Obama administration for denying federal assistance in the aftermath of Texas wildfires which burned more than 2.2 million acres in the last six months.
"I am dismayed that this administration has denied Texans the much needed assistance they deserve. It is not only the obligation of the federal government, but its responsibility under law to help its citizens in times of emergency," Gov. Perry said last week. He praised his state for their disaster preparedness and response, but feared state responders were being stretched thin. Perry is considering appealing the Obama administration's denial of aid.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says "this administration has been extremely responsive to the state of Texas for fire management assistant grants," pointing out that federal tax dollars cover the fire fighters and account for 75 percent of the cost to fight the Texas wild fires. Carney told reporters Tuesday "We take these very seriously. The fact is, the wild fires are the kind of natural disasters that they are, and fighting them is a major cost here, and the federal government is picking up a substantial portion of that cost."
Governor Perry met President Obama in 2009 when the President delivered an education speech at the University of Texas in Austin. At the time Perry invited President Obama to meet with Texas Homeland Security and Law enforcement personnel, yet Perry rejected a White House invitation to a National Security Council briefing, telling reporters "We don't need to be briefed any more on border security. We need action."
Today's event at the border will highlight the President's plan for legislative action on comprehensive immigration reform. The president will also stop in Austin for two DNC fundraisers, after his El Paso tour of the border, but no meeting between President Obama and Governor Perry is expected.
Fox News' Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.