By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX -- Republican governors are gathering Wednesday at the border in Texas to criticize the Biden administration's policies.
And Arizona taxpayers are picking up the tab to send Gov. Doug Ducey to the event, along with two of his top aides.
Ducey publicist C.J. Karamargin acknowledged that this is an all-GOP event, with Republican governors from nine other states also going to Mission, just down the road from McAllen. A press release from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said they will have a news conference to discuss the "border crisis.''
Karamargin said Ducey and the governors "have some ideas'' they want to share with the media.
He told Capitol Media Services the reason for the all-Republican event is because the president ignored a request by governors -- again, all Republicans -- to meet with them about the situation. But Karamargin, in justifying making the trip at state expense, denied that this is a political event.
"Border security has been and remains a top concern for all Arizonans,'' Karamargin said. And he said that Ducey, as the governor of a border state, is working to figure out a way to strengthen security.
Ducey has done press conferences in front of the border fence before, including one earlier this year in Douglas where he insisted that everything going wrong with illegal immigration is the fault of Biden, his administration and the Democratic Congress. That leaves the question of why he needs to now go to Texas for the all-GOP affair given that there is a border in his own state.
Karamargin, who is going on the trip, said it all comes back to Biden's snub.
"They requested a meeting with the president,'' he said.
"They have not heard back,'' Karamargin continued. "So now they're going to be talking about all the ideas they have about strengthening border security.''
And he brushed aside questions of whether Ducey, who has had other events in Arizona to blast the Biden administration's handling of the border, can share his ideas closer to home.
"This is an effort by multiple governors from states that have been impacted by the failure to secure our border,'' Karamargin said, a list that includes Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
There was no immediate response from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott whose office organized the event, about why Democrats were not invited.
The event comes as Biden's popularity is shrinking to new lows. While some of that relates to what some believe was a botched exit from Afghanistan, the daily pictures and videos of migrants gathered at the border to seek asylum also have taken a toll.
"Border security is the No. 1 issue that people call the governor's office talking about it,'' Karamargin said.
Republicans hope to capitalize on that next year in a bid to reverse their fortunes from the 2020 election to potentially regain control of the U.S. Senate, with its 50-50 split, and the House where Democrats hold a 220-212 edge, with three vacancies.
In writing to the president on Sept. 20, the 26 Republican governors told him they can only do so much to deal with the situation on the border.
"The months-long surge in illegal crossing has instigated an international humanitarian crisis, spurred by a spike in international criminal activity, and opened the floodgates to human traffickers and drug smugglers endangering public health and safety in our states,'' they wrote. And they sought a meeting within 15 days.
That was up on Tuesday.
Ducey apparently is not interested in having reporters from Arizona attend to ask questions.
Karamargin disclosed the governor's trip late Tuesday morning. But Abbott's press office, which is organizing the event, said anyone not registered by 5 p.m. Monday would not be admitted -- or even provided with the specific location -- with no exceptions or changes allowed.