House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) showed his ability to deliver presidential-level burns Thursday morning.
Some Republicans, infuriated by President Barack Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, have reportedly floated the idea of denying President Barack Obama access to the House chamber for his 2015 State of the Union speech.
However, speaking at an unrelated press conference, Boehner directly shot down the proposal with a quip:
“The more the president talks about his ideas, the more unpopular he becomes. Why would I want to deprive him of that opportunity?”
He quickly moved on to take his next question.
Boehner and Obama have a less-than-friendly history, to say the least. Boehner has launched a lawsuit against the president over Obamacare and accused him of abusing his power with the executive action shielding millions of immigrants from deportation.
“If the president continues to act on his own, he is going to poison the well. When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself. And he’s going to burn himself if he continues to go down the path,” Boehner said shortly after the 2014 midterm elections.
Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, has been even more blunt. In a statement issued as Obama was preparing his executive action, Boehner’s office compared the president to an unconstitutional monarch.
“If ‘Emperor Obama’ ignores the American people and announces an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his Constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for Congressional action on this issue — and many others,” Steel said.
In turn, Obama has lambasted Boehner for his alleged inaction on a host of issues, including immigration reform.
“Well, my response is pass a bill,” Obama told his Republicans critics. “Congress has a responsibility to deal with these issues and there are some things that I can’t do on my own.”
Updated (1:27 p.m.): Updated with additional context on the Boehner-Obama relationship.
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