House Speaker John Boehner defended his theatrical caricature of Republican colleagues’ resistance to immigration reform, insisting there was “no mocking.”
“You tease the ones you love, all right?” the Ohio Republican said at a press briefing Tuesday, addressing his statements at a Rotary Club appearance late last week in his home district. In those remarks, Boehner made fun of House Republicans for approaching immigration reform with what he described as a whining attitude of “Ohhh, don’t make me do this, ohhh, this is too hard.”
Boehner told reporters that President Obama is the issue:
I wanted to make sure the members understood that the biggest impediment we have in moving immigration reform is that the American people don’t trust the president to enforce or implement the law that we may or may not pass.
In doing so, Boehner — chastened or not — appeared to be heeding the advice of Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who issued a statement Friday saying he was “disappointed” with the speaker’s Rotary Club remarks.
“The problem is Obama, not House Republicans,” Labrador said. “Speaker Boehner should have made that point, instead of criticizing the people he is supposed to be leading.”
Labrador and other conservatives have stressed for months that Obama can’t be trusted to enforce current immigration law on matters such as border security. They think it’s foolish to trust Obama with changes they regard as opening the way for amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.
Boehner’s “teasing” back home angered conservatives rather than boosted their confidence that leadership would stand firm.
So did remarks by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the House’s No. 4 Republican, quoted in a home-state newspaper. In an interview Thursday, McMorris Rodgers told the Spokane Spokesman-Review that legislation addressing illegal immigrants could move to the House floor “by August.”
“We’re going to have to push that this is a legal status, not amnesty,” she said.
The Hill newspaper reported that Boehner insisted to fellow Republicans in a private meeting earlier this morning that there isn’t any “secret conspiracy” to move immigration legislation.
Dan Holler, communications director for Heritage Action for America, said Boehner’s remarks “continue a long, well-documented pattern of doublespeak on the issue of amnesty.” Holler said:
If Republican leaders truly thought President Obama [were] not trustworthy they would take the issue off the table completely. Instead, they continue to promise the business community they’ll act on it sometime soon.
This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.