The White House is "certainly pleased" that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) agreed to participate in an immigration meeting with President Obama and local officials, press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday.
"When Governor Perry sent a letter to the White House yesterday indicating a desire to meet with the president, we thought it made sense here to extend an invitation to Governor Perry to allow him to participate in that meeting with other Texans who are seeking to address the situation in a constructive manner," Earnest said. "So we're looking forward to Governor Perry participating in that meeting."
The meeting, slated for Wednesday in Dallas, will include nonprofits and faith leaders who have been trying to mobilize resources to assist the recent flood of child migrants across the southern border.
Perry has seized on the crisis to criticize the president, demanding Obama join him for a tour of the border. He subsequently declined an offer to meet Obama on the airport tarmac when the president landed in Austin.
“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 said in a letter sent Monday to the White House.
Perry said in an interview with ABC News on Sunday that he did not believe the president "particularly cares whether or not the border of the United States is secure."
Earnest responded by saying that "despite all the differences that exist when it comes to policy" between the White House and Perry, "there should be a level at which we can agree" that the situation at the border was deserving of attention.
Earnest also said he did not believe "any fair appraisal of the president's record" would affirm that he did not care about border security.
The White House spokesman would not rule out a private meeting between Perry and Obama in addition to the gathering with local officials in Dallas.
Earlier Tuesday, the White House rolled out a $3.7 billion emergency spending request to help address the flood of unaccompanied minors.