Texas Gov. Rick Perry blasted the secretary of Homeland Security’s flippant response to his appeal for the Obama Administration to send an extra 1,000 National Guard troops to secure the porous Southern border.
Perry said his request was met with a “chuckle” by Janet Napolitano, along with her dismissively telling Washington reporters on Friday that if he wants more troops, he should “pay for them.”
In an exclusive interview with HUMAN EVENTS, Perry fired back, calling Napolitano’s remarks “one of the most arrogant and inappropriate statements for a cabinet member in a long time.” Perry not only called her comments unseemly but noted that they were “hypocritical” as well.
“She herself had letters going to President Bush asking for more National Guard troops and talking about that it was the federal government’s responsibility to pay for them,” the two-time Texas Republican governor argued. Perry was referring to Napolitano’s own numerous entreaties for more boots on the ground that she specifically made while serving as the governor of Arizona.
Napolitano even went out of her way to stress that the federal government, and not her state, should foot the bill for such a beefed up border. “By no means should state resources be used to supplant this federal responsibility,” Napolitano wrote in 2005 to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
But that was then.
Napolitano’s newfound ambivalence toward border security stems from her boss, Barack Obama, says Perry. “I don’t think he cares,” the governor told HUMAN EVENTS after keynoting the RedState Gathering, a conference sponsored by our sister website that took place in Austin, Tex., over the weekend.
“I’ve given him opportunity after opportunity to visit with me. I’ve made it a whole lot easier than picking up the phone and calling. I went to the airport and met him. He didn’t have time to meet,” Perry said.
During the summer, President Obama twice rebuffed requests by Perry to sit down and discuss the serious threat the open border poses to Americans, even though the President was already in Texas on business.
Perry has been pleading to increase troop levels for months now. And while the Obama Administration has committed an extra 1,200 of them for the entire Mexican border, that number only includes 286 Guardsmen for the 1,200-mile radius of Texas’s own border. Put another way, the Texas border consists of about 64% of the border between Mexico and the United States, but the White House dispersed only 20% of the manpower to the Lone Star State.
Perry has demanded the federal government supply him with 3,000 more border patrol agents for the 1,200-mile border of Texas and 1,000 National Guard servicemen on the border until those agents are trained and ready to go.
“If he wants to know how to secure the border, all he has to do is pick up a newspaper in the last six months. It’s not a secret plan I’ve kept in my coat pocket,” Perry continued. “If Washington does not deal with this, there will be American lives lost, because this drug war will spill over into the United States. And that is my great concern.”