Congressional leaders of both parties met with President Obama at the White House this afternoon to talk about the results of the election and the upcoming transfer of leadership in the Senate to Republicans.
As soon-to-be Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi arrived at the White House for lunch, Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted that the White House would act on immigration reform using his executive power in spite of warnings from Republicans that it would “poison the well” in future negotiations with the White House.
Josh Earnest openly mocked McConnell’s warning that Obama’s executive action would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull.
“I’m not really sure what that means … anybody who’s been to a bull fight probably doesn’t really want to be the bull I wouldn’t like to be the bull in that analogy,” he said.
Earnest also told reporters that Obama’s decision to act was not “a threat” to Republicans, but “a promise” to immigration activists.
Suggestions that Republicans and Democrats could find “common ground” on bi-partisan policies such as infrastructure, funding for the Ebola fight, and international trade, as well as funding the campaign against Islamic State terrorists were merely window dressing, as the White House signaled preparations for Obama’s politically toxic action.
During his brief remarks to the press before the lunch, Obama made no mention of his impending action on immigration reform, but rather hailed his economic record, based on the unemployment report released this morning and vowed to find common ground in Congress to keep the economy growing.
“I think they’re frustrated by the gridlock,” Obama said, referring to the American people. “They’d like to see more cooperation. And I think all of us have the responsibility, me in particular, to try to make that happen.”
The White House “power lunch” included a menu of Salad, Herb Crusted Sea Bass, Grilled Vegetables and a Pumpkin Tart with Vanilla Whipped Cream and Candied Ginger.