Michigan Governor Backtracks, Seeking to Meet Obama in Flint

Gov. Rick Snyder drank tap water from Flint, Mich., during a news conference in the city on Monday. On April 18, Mr. Snyder pledged to drink and cook with the city’s tap water for at least a month.

FLINT, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan has a question for President Obama: Want to get together?

In a rare overture by a Republican governor to the Democratic leader, Mr. Snyder said on Monday that he had made a formal request for a meeting with the president, hoping to sit down with Mr. Obama during his visit to Flint planned for Wednesday.

Mr. Snyder’s comments reversed a statement he made last week during a trip to Europe when he was asked whether he would meet with Mr. Obama. In response, the governor appeared to give the president the brushoff.

“I’ve got a pretty full schedule next week,” Mr. Snyder told The Detroit News by telephone from Zurich, adding that he did not plan on being in Flint on Wednesday.

On Monday, Mr. Snyder seemed eager to amend those remarks, saying that he had made a request to Karen Weaver, the mayor of Flint, to meet with her and Mr. Obama.

“What I have done, when I did get it confirmed the president was coming, is we’ve been in ongoing dialogue and I’ve made a formal request for a meeting with the mayor and the president,” Mr. Snyder said.

Mr. Snyder made the announcement at a restaurant in downtown Flint, where he filled several gallon jugs with the Flint water he had pledged on April 18 to drink for 30 days during the city’s tainted water crisis. (His pledge was temporarily lifted last week when he traveled to Germany and Switzerland.)

Mr. Snyder took some criticism for his perceived snub of Mr. Obama, particularly from Democrats and Michigan residents who believe Mr. Snyder should be pursuing more aid from the federal government. Mr. Snyder said his remarks from Europe were misinterpreted.

Mr. Obama was prompted to make a stop in Flint after receiving a letter from Amariyanna Copeny, 8, who asked that the president meet with her while she was in Washington in March for a Flint rally.

Mr. Obama did not see her in the capital, but wrote back that he would come to Flint and hoped to meet her there.

Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said at a news briefing that details of Mr. Obama’s visit were still being worked out, but that it would be “traditional when a president travels to invite the governor of a state to at least greet him on the tarmac.”

Ari Adler, a spokesman for Mr. Snyder, said the governor would be waiting to meet Mr. Obama on the tarmac at Bishop Airport in Flint.

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