When President Obama landed in Phoenix on Wednesday, he was greeted with sunny skies and a kerfuffle with Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.
After welcoming the president upon his arrival, Obama told Brewer he didn’t like the way he was characterized in her book, Scorpions for Breakfast, the governor told reporters traveling with the president.
“He was a little disturbed about my book,” Brewer said. “I said to him that I have all the respect in the world for the office of the president."
But Obama “didn’t feel that I had treated him cordially” in the book, the governor said.
In the book, Brewer complains about one meeting at the White House with Obama — centered around immigration and border security — writing, “It was [as] though President Obama thought he could lecture me, and I would learn at his knee.”
Initially, Brewer called the meeting “cordial.” But she later walked back the sentiment, calling the president “patronizing.”
In a rare move, the White House put out its own statement quoting a White House official: “The governor handed the President a letter and said she was inviting him to meet with her. The president said he’d be glad to meet with her again, but did note that after their last meeting, a cordial discussion in the Oval Office, the governor inaccurately described the meeting in her book. The president looks forward to continuing taking steps to help Arizona’s economy grow.”
At one point in the tense conversation on Wednesday, Brewer pointed her finger at Obama and at another time, they were talking over one another, according to a White House pool report.
Obama appeared to walk away from Brewer in the middle of their conversation, according to the pool report.
“I said I was sorry he felt that way but I didn’t get my sentence finished,” she said. “Anyway, we’re glad he’s here. I’ll regroup.
“The book is what the book is,” Brewer added. “I asked him if he read the book. He said he read the excerpt. So.”
Brewer said she handed Obama what she called a personal letter asking him to sit down with her to discuss the “Arizona comeback.”
She said she “reiterated an invitation that I’ve extended to him before with regards to coming to Arizona and going to the border with me.
“We’ve had a remarkable comeback here and I want to share that with him,” Brewer said. “I thought we probably would’ve talked about the things that were important to him and important to me, helping one another.
“Arizona was upside down,” she continued. “But we have turned it around. I know again that he loves this country and I love this country.”