John Boehner Tells the People He Mocked About Immigration That He Wasn't Mocking Them

Philip Bump
John Boehner Tells the People He Mocked About Immigration That He Wasn't Mocking Them

Remember when House Speaker John Boehner appeared to mock his Republican colleagues, blaming them for blocking immigration reform? Well, he wasn't mocking them, really, Boehner clarified on Tuesday — and, besides, everything is President Obama's fault.

Before we get too far into this, let's watch the clip again, because it's funny.

When this emerged last week, The Wire pointed out that this was a particularly weird way to make a weird argument. Boehner has spent months saying that the Republicans won't move any immigration reform measures because they don't trust Obama to implement them; Boehner's whiny-cringey accusations against his peers undermined that pretty much entirely.

So he's reeling the critique back in. In the private caucus Boehner regularly holds with the Republican members of the House, he told them that it was "crystal clear" Obama was the one to blame, according to The Hill's Russell Berman. So what was all that whiny nonsense? Just teasing.

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"You tease the ones you love, right?," Boehner said at a press conference on Tuesday morning, according to the Washington Examiner. In the private meeting, he said, he "wanted to make sure the 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."

Again, here's what Boehner actually said during his "teasing": "Here's the attitude. Ohhhh. Don't make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard." So it's pretty easy to see how his caucus might misunderstand that. And, he admitted, some of them weren't happy about it. "You know," he said in the press conference, "sometimes I can rib people just a little too much sometimes. This wouldn’t be the first time."

This doesn't really make sense, but whatever. Immigration reform, as always, is in purgatory and someone — no one knows who — is to blame.

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