Gov. Bill Haslam says he may not be around when President Obama visits Nashville today, but he has worked hard to have a “great relationship” with the White House in some ways, according to The Tennessean.
Haslam told reporters Monday he has a couple events on his schedule Tuesday and his office just received the president’s schedule Monday. But the Republican governor doesn’t think not meeting with the president would be a snub or a political insult.
“I spent last Thursday with them at the White House conference on education. So I think if you look at governors who’ve worked hard to try to keep a great relationship, I think we’d be at the top of that list,” Haslam said, in a statement provided by a spokesman.
Haslam was invited to the White House last week to be recognized for the Tennessee Promise scholarship program. Obama also called Haslam to congratulate him in November when the governor won re-election.
Haslam didn’t meet with the president in January, when he came to a Nashville high school to talk about education policy. At the time Haslam said he had planned to meet with Obama, but a delay from Air Force One persuaded the governor to keep an out-of-town economic development appointment.
“It had zero to do with politics,” Haslam told The Tennessean at the time, of missing the president’s Nashville visit.
“We actually have worked with them in some really big ways. I don’t agree with a whole lot of things; I’ll be really clear about that. But the idea that I would just try to, for some political message, not go is just wrong.”