Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), says it’s “un-American” for President Barack Obama to consider implementing an executive amnesty for millions of illegal aliens across the country.
“It’s unconstitutional, illegal, and we don’t support it,” Priebus replied when a Tea Party activist asked him about the president’s plans for an executive amnesty on a conference call hosted by TheTeaParty.net on Monday evening.
“I don’t support it. It is wrong,” Priebus said. “It is un-American for a president to try and do such a thing. I want to make it clear: There is no part of me, there is not a molecule in my body that agrees with the president on executive amnesty.”
Priebus promised the hundreds of activists on the call that the Republican Party, if it takes the Senate on Nov. 4 in the upcoming midterm elections, will do everything in its power to stop Obama from proceeding on the executive amnesty. Priebus even boldly predicted that Republicans can and will succeed in stopping Obama if elected on Nov. 4.
“While I can’t speak for the legislature, I’m very confident we will stop that,” Priebus said. “We will do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen: Defunding, going to court, injunction. You name it. It’s wrong. It’s illegal. And for so many reasons, and just the basic fabric of this country, we can’t allow it to happen and we won’t let it happen. I don’t know how to be any stronger than that. I’m telling you, everything we can do to stop it we will.”
Priebus is the latest high-profile Republican to define the midterm elections as a referendum on the president’s immigration policies. In New Hampshire, former Sen. Scott Brown has made it his key issue on the campaign trail–and he’s shot up in the polls because of it. Other candidates, like Tom Cotton in Arkansas, have made it a key issue as well–and Cotton has taken a commanding lead over incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) as a result.
There were multiple immigration questions during the town hall, illustrating how important an issue it is to the grassroots across the country.
In fact, one woman even asked Priebus why the “sergeant at arms hasn’t arrested Obama” for our “wide open borders.” Priebus handled it with ease.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News right before the Tea Party tele-town hall call, Priebus said on immigration that the nation’s border must be actually secured before any other immigration talk occurs.
“Well, first of all, we don’t get anywhere unless we can show the border is secure,” Priebus said. “If the Democrats were actually honest–which they haven’t been on this issue at all–if they were honest, they would first focus in on border security. I don’t think any average person or honest politician can argue with the fact that if you don’t secure the border first, then none of this other conversation goes anywhere. You cannot possible have any sort of discussion on immigration reform if 14 years from now or 10 years from now, we’re right back to where we’ve started.
“I have said repeatedly on immigration that the first thing is border security and the second thing is upholding the law that’s in place today. What ever happened to the border fence that was promised by Congress in 2006? It never happened. What about these sanctuary cities out there that take federal money and they’re not even upholding the law that we have in place? So somehow or another what can’t get lost in any of this conversation is the importance of border security and making sure that any sort of immigration reform talk doesn’t even begin without taking that first step.”
Priebus added that Obama has been “lying” to everyone on the issue of immigration for political purposes, and he can’t be trusted to handle the issue appropriately.
“The president has been lying to people across this country in order to curry favor with them at election time,” Priebus said. “What I mean by that is he promised this incredible immigration reform package back in 2007. He had a supermajority in Congress and 60 votes in the Senate, and as you know and have written about many times, he delivered a goose egg when he had control.
“Then what does he do? He comes back and says ‘I’m going to break the law’ and ‘I’m going to pass an executive order and grant amnesty to millions of people here in this country.’ Why? Because we’re getting close to an election and he wants to make a promise and so by the end of the summer, he’s going to do it, right?
“It turns out he creates a border crisis that actually unifies the country against the president’s immigration policies. Then what did he do? He starts to hear people complaining about what’s happening on the border with an election coming. So he says ‘I’m going to pull back on the executive order’ and then the last chapter here is he hears from people on the immigration reform side that they’re upset with the president. So then he says, ‘okay, I’ll do it–after the election.’
“This is what I’m talking about with lying and promises that are never intended to be kept, all for political purposes.”
Priebus told Breitbart News that he is confident the Senate will go Republican in November.
“Well I do think we are going to be net plus six at least, so I do think we are going to win. I’m fairly confident about that. Where we’re doing really well right now is if you look at the purple states–you look at Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, you take just those four places,” he said. “The question is, can you win two out of those four? I think most objective observers say we will likely win two out of those four, at least. Colorado is looking like it’s in great condition right now–Cory Gardner is doing a masterful job. [Bruce] Braley hasn’t really been ahead of Joni Ernst in about 10 polls lately. And obviously he’s about as phony baloney as they come as a candidate, and it doesn’t really work in Iowa. The other piece is you look at your governor’s race there, [Terry] Branstad is running, what, 15 to 18 points ahead? That’s a factor people have to take into consideration there, and it’s very helpful to us.”
As for New Hampshire and North Carolina, Priebus noted that both Republican candidates–Scott Brown and Thom Tillis–are “surging” at the opportune time.
“Then you have New Hamsphire, and just before I called you, I saw a poll come out and have Scott Brown a point and a half ahead,” Priebus said. “Now I know there the polls are up one, down one. Then in North Carolina, Hagan is taking in water. Tillis is surging at the right time. So the reason I’m focusing in on these purple states is that kind of tells you what’s going on around the country. Now, Arkansas looks good, Alaska looks good, but it’s hard to predict Alaska, as we know. So not getting to net plus six, it’s starting to look very difficult not to do. In other words, getting there at this point, where we’re at in purple states and states we should be winning, I think, looks very favorable.”
Part of the reason why Priebus did this interview with Breitbart News, and the tele-town hall with TheTeaParty.net, is because he is seeking to suture the wounds left from the divide between the conservative and establishment sides of the Republican Party before the midterm election. This year has been a brutal primary year, where conservative Dave Brat beat now-former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary there, but the establishment crushed Tea Party-backed candidates in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kansas, among other places.
When asked about the Mississippi race specifically–probably the most brutal one as Republican National Committeeman Henry Barbour and other allies of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) ran advertisements falsely calling Tea Party Republican Chris McDaniel a racist–Priebus said there was nothing he could do about it.
“For one thing, at the RNC, just to be very clear on this: We do not spend money in primaries,” Priebus said. “We do not spend money on either an incumbent or a challenger before a winner is chosen. I did an interview on this subject before the election in Mississippi, and I said we are not involved in the primary, but I can promise you whoever wins the primary is going to win the general election. And number two, we’ll do whatever we have to do to make sure that that winner gets over the finish line. I know it’s hard because there’s all these different groups out there and I understand we get lumped in with it–and life isn’t fair, as our parents have always told us–but the idea of getting involved in primaries is so out of the norm for the RNC that it’s a foreign thought. So we get lumped in with it but it isn’t the case.”
Priebus added there are rare exceptions to that rule on primaries, but in this case in Mississippi, there was no exception.
“The only way we ever get involved in a primary, and on one hand I can count these cases, is when all three members from the Republican National Committee from a particular state sign a Rule 11 letter and allow us to get involved in a state race–this is not a presidential issue,” Priebus said. “Number one, it didn’t happen in this particular case. But number two, it didn’t matter because you can follow every nickel and other than help a state party–we do a full-time employee for every state party in America–other than that, you don’t see a single transfer. No money. No vendor work that’s being done. We just don’t get involved.”
On the call, Priebus was asked about the primaries a couple times. At first, he gave an answer very similar to what he told Breitbart News before the call, then added that Republicans are better than Democrats.
“I think a lot of people understand that at this point there’s a choice between Harry Reid being the Majority Leader and a Republican in charge,” Priebus said. “Given that choice, whether you’re involved heavily in the Tea Party or the Republican Party, we all understand that, in the end, I think that we’re on the same team–and people like Harry Reid, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark Pryor, and Mark Begich, they’re not a part of the solution to the problems facing this country.”
Priebus also said the role of the RNC is to elect Republicans over Democrats in general elections.
“You can pick whoever you want in these primaries,” Priebus said on the call. “You want McDaniel? You want Cochran? You want [Milton] Wolf? You want [Pat] Roberts? But when somebody wins, these candidates have got to be able to plug into a cadillac machine on the ground. We have to build that cadillac and be good at it.”
Priebus said at the end of the town hall that he thinks it’s important for Tea Partiers and the grassroots to hold Republicans accountable.
“I think it’s important to build our party through addition and make sure that we don’t subtract people out of our party,” he said. “It’s also important for the Tea Party to hold the Republican Party accountable. I get that. It’s not always a cheerleading opportunity. It’s both that we’re going to be with you and help you, but we have to hold you accountable once in a while. And I understand that and respect it.”
The reason, Priebus said, it’s important for Republicans to unite heading into election day is because the stakes couldn’t be higher in terms of the direction of the country when it comes to control of the U.S. Senate. Priebus said in the interview with Breitbart News that Republicans can “box” Obama in and “leverage him” on key issues, setting the stage for the next presidential elections.
“What can we be doing? For one thing, we can pass legislation,” Priebus said. “There’s over 360 bills sitting on Harry Reid’s desk. We can pass those out of the Senate and put them on president’s desk. We can box him in.
“We can leverage him on issues like Keystone Pipeline, which is a good example. He’s been dancing all over the place on Keystone Pipeline. He killed it when Tom Steyer put up $10 million in the Super PAC, but that is a bill he can get boxed in on, and I think is going to create a lot of jobs in this country and help us get more energy independent.
“Number two, we can pass a budget. A lot of people forget, you don’t need the president to pass a budget in this country. Now he’ll come back on appropriations but we can pass a budget and actually help get the economy moving and help get more confidence into the economy.
“Then you can set the stage for what’s coming in 2015 and 2016 and make sure we’re accomplishing things that will also present an important message to the American people in what we represent heading into 2016.”