Following President Barack Obama’s speech announcing his executive order on illegal immigration, CNN political commentator and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich unloaded on the President, likening his speech to statements made by ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber and that those in the “elite” class “really underestimate” the disdain Americans have for unfortified borders.
Responding on CNN in the minutes after it ended, Gingrich opined that it was wrong for the President to go against the incoming Congress as it had “repudiated his policies in the election” a few weeks ago. Gingrich then slammed what viewers just heard as “a Gruber speech” where the President was “simply not telling the country the truth.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
After predicting that it will cause a massive increase in bureaucracy at the Department of Homeland Security, he concluded his first thoughts on the speech by saying that Obama’s decision to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” on his own “is absolutely dishonest and this is a very dishonest speech.”
Following being asked by host Anderson Cooper if he thinks Obama’s executive action will increase illegal immigration, Gingrich pointed out that it would because Obama’s remarks on immigration are heard worldwide and will likely lead to some packing up and coming to the United States for “the next amnesty.”
Former Obama Press Secretary (and now CNN senior political commentator) Jay Carney next brought up immigration reform in relation to former President George W. Bush’s statements during the 2000 campaign and then why it was necessary for the President to do something.
Kudos are in order to Cooper who, challenged him to respond to a video containing the numerous instances that the President said he would not act alone on immigration. Carney then meandered and essentially said that Obama said what he did to encourage activists and Congress to get a bill passed.
Minutes later, Gingrich received another chance to speak and certainly didn’t waste it:
[T]he Constitution doesn’t say, “the President should obey the law until he gets frustrated.” Now, the President’s argument is, gee, “I was patient for a long time.” Well, who is he to be patient? The Constitution is a larger system in which he's one piece.
One additional point Gingrich made was how in the deeply-blue state of Oregon, voters overwhelmingly rejected a law to give illegal immigrant’s drivers license. Instances like this, he said, should give those well-off and in favor of amnesty reason for concern:
People, I think, in the elites underestimate how deeply this country is disgusted with no border control, but despite the President's speech tonight, with the sense there's going to be another wave of people coming in on top of this and the idea that this President, having just been decisively defeated three weeks ago, can turn around and ram down what he wants to do.
The relevant portions of the transcript from CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 on November 20 can be found below.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360
November 20, 2014
8:18 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Obama Unveils Executive Action on Immigration]
ANDERSON COOPER: Well, Speaker Gingrich, what about that? I mean, the President said to those in Congress who oppose him, pass a bill. If you don't like it, pass a bill.
NEWT GINGRICH: First of all, it's not the President's right to dictate with the newly elected Congress, which repudiated his policies in the election. It does.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Obama: “If You’re a Criminal, You’ll be Deported”]
Second, this was a Gruber speech. This is vastly more than prosecutorial. I mean, he's simply not telling the country the truth. He's setting up an entire system in Homeland Security. They’re going to have an entire process.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Obama: “The Actions I’m Taking Are Lawful”]
They’re going to put thousands of bureaucrats to work trying to find a way to, in effect, legalize behavior and to describe that as prosecutorial discretion is absolutely dishonest and this is a very dishonest speech.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Obama’s Plan Shields Up to 5 Million Illegal Immigrants]
COOPER: Do you think it’s going to bring even more people coming to this country illegally?
GINGRICH: Every time it's been done in the past it has. You look at the historic record, every speech like this, including things he said which led to the children coming last summer, every speech like this is broadcast worldwide. There are 160 million people, according to Gallup’s poll, worldwide who’d like to come to the U.S. 160 million and they all looked up and thought: “Wow. Wait, wait for the next amnesty.”
COOPER: Jay Carney, what about that? The President all along said he didn't have the power to do this?
JAY CARNEY: You know, Anderson, I remember as a reporter covering then governor George W. Bush in the 2000 campaign. I believe Jake was on that campaign as well, and he would stand in front of essentially all-white audiences and say something that was relatively uncomfortable, that he believed family values did not stop at the Rio Grande and that was part of his argument to audiences that didn’t always support it, that immigration reform was absolutely necessary and it's not just necessary because it's morally the right thing to do. It's necessary because we have a broken system where the law itself is constantly being undermined by the presence of undocumented people in this country who live in the shadows and who undermine our economic system and undermine systems across, health care and education.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Obama to Critics of His Plan: “Pass a Bill”]
So something has to be done. The President made a strong effort and got a bill through Congress with Republican support and he negotiated, I was there, he worked with and talked with and cajoled and he pleaded with Republican leaders in the House to follow the Senate's lady to write their own bill that was similar to the Senate's including things he would have a hard time dealing with but would accept and they said they would and they said they would, and then they refused and, in the end, they refused because most Republicans, as Newt knows, in the House are in districts with no Latinos or very few Latinos and it's not in their political interest to deal with this problem though it is in the Republican Party's interest nationally to deal with this.
COOPER: This does contradict what the President himself has said himself repeatedly and I just want to play some of his past comments now you.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: [IN MARCH 2011] With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that's just not the case. [IN APRIL 2011] I can’t do it by myself. We’re going to have to change laws in Congress. [IN SEPTEMBER 2011] The notion that somehow, by myself, I can go and do these things is just not true. [IN SEPTEMBER 2013] What I've said is there's a path to get this done and that's through Congress. [IN FEBRUARY 2013] I'm the President of the United States. I'm not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.
COOPER: And of course now some Republicans are saying he's acting like – like an emperor. What has changed? I mean, I get why he's doing it. He's frustrated., but from his own standpoint.
CARNEY: When he was making those statements, he was essentially arguing that he cannot change the law. He cannot provide a path to citizenship as President, and that, obviously, is not what he's done today, but I grant you – the fact – he was going out on a limb trying to make it clear to supporters of immigration reform that it was important to put pressure on Congress to get a bill done because that was the better solution.
8:24 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Obama: “If You’re a Criminal, You’ll be Deported”]
GINGRICH: Look, just two facts. One, the Constitution doesn’t say, “the President should obey the law until he gets frustrated.” Now, the President’s argument is, gee, “I was patient for a long time.” Well, who is he to be patient? The Constitution is a larger system in which he's one piece. Two, in Oregon, hardly a red state, the voters voted 66-34 to repeal a law to give illegal immigrants driver's licenses. People, I think, in the elites underestimate how deeply this country is disgusted with no border control, but despite the President's speech tonight, with the sense there's going to be another wave of people coming in on top of this and the idea that this President, having just been decisively defeated three weeks ago, can turn around and ram down what he wants to do.