Despite criticism from conservatives that House Leadership has demonstrated a less than forceful opposition to President Obama’s executive amnesty, House Speaker John Boehner’s office continues to attack Obama for his unilateral actions.
In a dispatch from the Speaker’s office Tuesday morning, Boehner spokesman Matt Wolking argued that “Obama’s immigration explanations are not fooling anyone.” The post comes less than a week after conservatives blasted House Leadership for pushing through a government spending bill that did not defund Obama’s executive amnesty.
Still, Boehner’s spokesman Tuesday took Obama to task for taking those executive actions in the first place. In his post, Wolking used Obama’s own words against him to point out that the president did not have the legal authority to take the actions he announced in November — which include providing legal status and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants.
“President Obama attempted to defend his unilateral action on immigration in two interviews last week, and in each case, reporters pressed him on why he had previously told them many times that he did not have the legal authority to act on his own. Caught in a clear flip-flop, the president’s rhetorical acrobatics were a sight to behold,” Wolking writes, highlighting Obama’s recent interviews with Univision and Telemundo.
“[In a 2011 town hall] you told us, and I quote, ‘With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case,'” Univision‘s Jorge Ramos pointed out, setting up his point: “That’s exactly what you did.” President Obama denied this, claiming, “I can run back the tape on your questions and some of the questions of that town hall, [and prove] the notion [I was responding to] was that we could just stop deportations, period[.]”
Wolking goes on: “But the president doesn’t have to ‘run back the tape’ – objective observers already have.” He cites several:
•“It’s clear from the interviews that the president was … [asked] about specific actions that ended deportations of a subset of illegal immigrants–precisely the type of action he” took. (The Washington Post, 11/18/14)
• “[T]he questions posed to Obama earlier were very specific. They asked the president whether he had the authority to do the very kinds of things he” did. (FactCheck.org, 11/18/14)
• “In fact, most of the questions that were posed to the president over the past several years were about the very thing” he announced. (The New York Times, 11/17/14)
Boehner’s spokesman then took on Obama’s argument to Jose Diaz-Balart on Telemundo, pointing out that when asked “what legally changed” to allow Obama to expand the number of people shielded from deportation, Obama responded: “What I think changed is that having done what we did with DACA, with the DREAM kids, my argument was not that we did not have some additional authority, my argument was that I did not have the authority to simply not deport.”
Wolking writes that Obama did argue that he did not have additional authority.
On two separate occasions after his June 2012 announcement of DACA, President Obama said that he’d “done everything that I can on my own” (10/16/12) and “stretched our administrative flexibility as much as we can” (2/14/13).
Wolking concluded by highlighting the recent conclusions by PolitiFact and the Washington Post’s Fact Checker that Obama flip-flipped and stretched the truth.
Amidst all these untruths last week, President Obama did let one truthful statement slip as he reprimanded Jorge Ramos for not letting him off the hook:
And those, like you sometimes, Jorge, who suggests that there are simple quick answers to these problems, I think …. when you present it in that way, it does a disservice, because it makes the assumption that the political process is one that can easily be moved around, depending on the will of one person, and that’s not how things work.
He’s right that our nation’s laws are not determined by a single ruler’s will – just as he was 22 times before – and that’s what makes his unilateral action on immigration so wrong – and the real disservice.
Having recently passed a government spending bill that lets funding for the Department of Homeland Security expire in February, Republicans are already gearing up for another fight against Obama’s executive amnesty early next year. Boehner has declined to elaborate on what the GOP plans to do but vowed they will challenge Obama.
“There are options available to us and we are going to exercise those options. The president can’t continue to just ignore the Constitution,” the House Speaker said last week.