After mocking, his fellow GOP members last week for resenting immigration reform was “too hard,” House Speaker John Boehner reminded House Republicans at a closed-door meeting “you tease the ones you love” but admitted he shouldn’t have made fun of them publicly.
The speaker made that message to reporters after the Tuesday meeting, lessen his comments that exploded firestorm, mostly from outside conservative groups critical of Boehner’s efforts on immigration.
“Some people misunderstood what I had to say and I wanted to make sure that 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,” Boehner said.
Boehner, talking about his colleagues on Capitol Hill, said last week, “here’s the attitude: ‘Ohhhh, don’t make me do this. Ohhhh, this is too hard.’”
His complaints were recorded on camera at a Rotary Club event in his Ohio district. The speaker went on to say that “we get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems, and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to.” He added they would take the path of least resistance.”
On Tuesday, he waved off any backlash over last week’s comments. “Our members know me, all right? And, but you know, sometimes I can rip people just a little too much, sometimes. This wouldn’t be the first time.”
Boehner argued that his fellow GOP members should know he was kidding around; he conceded that he “went a little too far.” Louisiana Republican Rep. John Fleming said.
Immigration reform advocates viewed Boehner’s inclines to vent his unresolved issues about his colleagues as a signal, he was ready to set aside the solid opposition from a block of conservatives and move forward on some form of bipartisan immigration reform legislation.
However, Boehner insisted Tuesday that President Obama, not division within his own ranks, was the biggest obstacle to passing immigration reform.
He evaded a question about whether the House would vote on any legislation before the summer recess in August, saying he was continuing to talk to his members “to see if there’s a way forward.”
The speaker tries to flip the burden back to Obama on immigration saying, “he’s got to show the American people and show the Congress that he can be trusted to implement the law the way it may be passed.”
Fleming (R) who is against any effort to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers, said Boehner “actually double down today on our existing position, which not move forward until the President gets right with us.”