Gov. Rick Perry, who had said he did not want a handshake moment on an airport tarmac with President Barack Obama, did greet the nation’s leader in Dallas on Wednesday after an invitation to talk about the crisis on the Texas border.
The governor and the president had some private time together to discuss the influx of thousands of unaccompanied children who have illegally entered the country in the past few months.
From all indications, the governor was cordial during their brief visit, but Perry wasted no time afterward before criticizing Obama — as he had done prior to the president’s arrival — for not doing enough to secure the border and for not making a personal visit to see the humanitarian crisis for himself.
Other Republican leaders, as well as some Democrats, also have said they think the president should make a personal trip to the border.
Obama, insisting that he’s not interested in a “photo op,” says there’s nothing he could learn from a personal visit that he doesn’t already know from those in the administration who have been to the border and those whose job it is to find solutions.
His challenge to Perry is that if you really want to help solve the problem, convince the Texas delegation in Congress to pass the nearly $4 billion proposal he has submitted that would help process these youngsters and send them home faster, yet provide for them while they are here.
It’s obvious that Republicans want to see Obama on the border, surrounded by numerous children who’ve entered the country illegally, for the images they could use to continue to paint the president as the Pied Piper of illegal immigration.
The president understands that and knows such optics could also be used as a propaganda tool in the children’s home country by the very people who’ve already taken advantage of the youngsters by promising they could stay in the U.S. once they arrived.
There is no real need for the president to make that trip, but he should go anyway.
If he does, he should take a delegation from Congress with him, including House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell.
Make it a bipartisan trip.