Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said the White House was “recycling the same explanations” offered by the Bush Administration after Hurricane Katrina to rebut questions over why President Obama hadn’t visited the Texas border.
“You remember the abuse that President Bush took when that picture came to light of him looking out the window of the plane down at New Orleans after Katrina?” Gohmert said during an interview with Fox News. “Well, this president won't even look out the window.”
“Who knows if it'll work for this president,” he added.
Gohmert is not the first Texas politician to make the comparison to Bush’s handling of Katrina.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that President Obama’s refusal to visit the border in Texas was “no different” than Bush’s initial reaction to the storm, which left hundreds of Gulf Coast residents dead.
"I think about the criticism that George W. Bush got when he didn't go to New Orleans at Katrina," Perry told Fox News Wednesday night, just hours after meeting with Obama in Dallas. "This is no different."
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) has also invoked Katrina while arguing the president should visit the border.
“I’m sure that President Bush thought the same thing, that he could just look at everything from up in the sky, and then he owned it after a long time,” Cuellar told Fox News. “So I hope this doesn’t become the Katrina moment for President Obama, saying that he doesn’t need to come to the border. He should come down.”
White House officials have rejected the comparison out of hand.
“I think it doesn’t make sense to compare this to a natural disaster. This is a humanitarian situation that we have been on top of from the very beginning,” Cecilia Munoz, the White House Domestic Policy Council director, told MSNBC on Wednesday. “It involves the entire federal government, it involves our partners in Central America who have acknowledged that we all share a responsibility to make sure we stop this situation before it starts.”
And shortly after meeting with Perry, Obama argued there was nothing taking place on the border that he was not “intimately aware of and briefed on.”
“This isn’t theater. This is a problem. I’m not interested in photo ops; I’m interested in solving a problem,” Obama said. “And those who say I should visit the border, when you ask them what should we be doing, they're giving us suggestions that are embodied in legislation that I’ve already sent to Congress.”