President Obama will meet with Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer on Thursday, White House officials say.
Brewer is in town for a meeting of the Council of Governors, an organization President Obama created by executive order in January — before Brewer signed her state’s controversial immigration law — to help foster better state-federal relations.
The meeting was first reported by Fox News’s Major Garrett.
Last week Brewer told reporters she hoped to meet with the president and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. Brewer said she hadn’t spoken with the president after his announcement that he would be sending 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I think it's important that the leader of the United States and the governor of the state of Arizona sit down face to face and have a conversation of exactly what is going on in Arizona and ask him for his help and hope that he responds positively,” Brewer told reporters, according to the Verde News. “I think that he owes it to the people of Arizona if not to the people of the United States to sit down and have a conversation with him in regards to what is needed at our border. We need to secure them.”
The initial response from the White House indicated a visit was not in the cards.
"We remain in regular contact with the governor and her staff,” White House spokesman Adam Abrams told reporters. "While the president's schedule next week doesn't allow for a meeting, he does intend to sit down with the governor in the future.”
On Tuesday, the author of Arizona’s immigration law — which Obama has called “misguided” and expressed concerns that it might be applied in a “discriminatory” fashion — criticized the president’s failure to make time to meet with Brewer, calling it "an insult."
Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce told Fox News that the president is “willing to have a beer fest with an officer in Cambridge after he misspoke. … He misspoke on this bill also and he's not willing to meet with the governor of the state of Arizona?"
Later on Tuesday the White House announced the president intended to meet with Brewer after all.
– Jake Tapper