The White House was quick to mock House Speaker John Boehner’s dismissal of Republican calls to impeach President Barack Obama.
A few hours after Boehner accused Democrats of fabricating a Republican plot to impeach the president as part of a fundraising “scam,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest came to his Monday press briefing armed with a list of Republican congressmen who have pushed for Obama’s impeachment.
“Well if that’s the case, then I suspect that there may be members of the Republican conference that didn’t receive the memo,” he said when asked about Boehner’s remarks.
Earnest then went on to rattle off the names of prominent Republicans who have suggested Obama could be impeached.
“We’ve seen comments in recent months from Congressman Steve King from Iowa, Congressman Ted Yoho from Florida, Congressman Lou Barletta from Pennsylvania, the distinguished Congressman Steve Stockman from Texas, his fellow Texan Blake Farenthold,” Earnest said. “We’ve even seen Kerry Bentivolio from Michigan call this ‘a dream come true.'”
However, the Republicans Earnest listed aren’t especially likely to embrace a “memo” from Boehner. Almost all of them are grassroots insurgents who have challenged Boehner and other establishment GOP leaders. For example, Bentivolio is a reindeer rancher who became an “accidental congressman” when his incumbent opponent was kicked off the ballot. Even Earnest seemed to acknowledge Stockman’s status as a conservative bomb thrower members of Congress by bestowing upon him the seemingly tongue-in-cheek title of “distinguished congressman.”
Earnest’s effort to highlight the impeachment calls nevertheless echoes broader Democratic messaging. House Democrats have been relentlessly fund-raising on the issue in recent days and the group’s campaign committee revealed on Monday that they hauled in $US2.1 million over the span of last weekend as they sent out a flurry of pitches focused on potential presidential impeachment.
At Monday’s briefing, Earnest was asked about this fund-raising effort and whether the White House was as seemingly panicked about impeachment as the campaign arm of the House Democrats.
“You’re a pretty calm guy. But the DCCC apparently put out a fund-raiser saying, … ‘It’s Saturday, and we’re in the office freaking out. Is the White House freaking out about the possibility of impeachment?” one reporter inquired.
Earnest, speaking methodically, implied the White House was not, in fact, “freaking out.”
“It is fair to say that we believe that Republican priorities that they have articulated are completely wrong,” he said. “Efforts to focus on these political, partisan attacks don’t create jobs.”
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