Boehner: I Was Just Teasing Republicans On Immigration Reform

April 29, 2014 11:10 a.m.

In his first Capitol Hill press conference after a two-week recess, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) downplayed his mocking of fellow Republicans last week for shying away from immigration reform.

“You tease the ones you love,” Boehner told reporters, saying he was “misunderstood” and reverting to his earlier position that President Barack Obama was the “biggest impediment” to the House acting on immigration.

He said he’d continue talking to House Republican to see “if” there was a way forward, and called on Obama to show Congress that “he can be trusted to implement the law.”

In a public meeting with his constituents, Boehner suggested his colleagues were too afraid to take on immigration reform, theatrically mocking them in a high-pitched voice: “Ohhhh. Don’t make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard.”

Conservatives were upset. Heritage Action, a tea party group, quickly criticized the Speaker after the remarks were reported. The National Review published an editorial on Monday titled “Boehner’s Tantrum,” arguing that “the system is working as it should: Fear of political repercussions is keeping congressmen from voting for unwise legislation.”

“What we cannot do is redeem the spectacle of a man who treats his fit of pique as though it were an act of leadership,” the editors concluded.

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