The White House claims that President Obama has postponed granting legal status to illegal immigrants until after the midterms in order to make sure that such action will be “sustainable,” but CBS correspondent Major Garrett isn’t buying it.
During Monday’s briefing, Garrett confronted White House press secretary Josh Earnest about the president’s breaking his promise to take executive action before the end of the summer. Earnest blamed House Republicans for the lack of progress on the issue and said that President Obama wanted more time to articulate his reasons for the delay. Garrett questioned that rationale for the delay. “The president clearly doesn’t need nine weeks to explain this to the American people — if he wanted to explain it, he could explain it,” Garrett said. “It seems to me that the only rational explanation for this is the intervening midterm election and fears from Senate Democrats that they did not want to take this issue on in the teeth of an already tough political environment.”
But Earnest emphasized President Obama’s commitment to taking action by the end of the year, and said that he hoped waiting till after the midterms would ensure that his executive action was “sustainable and durable.”
“If it’s an executive action, it is sustainable, by definition, until the end of his presidency,” Garrett fired back.
Ultimately, President Obama was worried about the “negative impact” his executive action would have on the issue and feared it would make the issue more controversial than it already is, Earnest tried to explain. “The president was willing to take a little political heat” for the delay in order to “ensure that the policy that he puts forward is one that can be sustained.”
“Not doing what he said he was going to do on the timeline he said he was going to do it is an act of courage?” Garrett asked in conclusion.