CBS reporter Major Garrett called out White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Monday over President Barack Obama’s claim that he is delaying executive action on immigration reform until after the midterm elections because he needs time to explain it to the American people.
“Why does he need until the end of the year to explain something?” the reporter began. “Isn’t true that the dominant factor, if you want to call it static, was static from Senate Democrats saying… ‘Maybe you think it’s a good idea, but it’s terrible politics for us and we want you to wait until after the election.’ The president clearly doesn’t need nine weeks to explain this to the American people.”
Garrett went on to say that the “only rational explanation for this is that 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.”
Earnest argued that Obama made the decision to delay his announcement on the executive action he plans to take on immigration reform because he is “concerned mostly about ensuring the solution that he offers is both sustainable and enduring.”
“But if it’s executive action it is sustainable, by definition, until the end of his presidency,” Garrett shot back. “He doesn’t have to worry about Congress. That’s the whole point.”
But Earnest claimed that the White House realizes that the “hyper-partisan” environment leading up to the November midterms “will have a negative impact on the broader public support and the sustainability of immigration reform.”
“The president is willing to take a little political heat from the pundits, from some of the advocates in the Hispanic community in particular, in order to ensure that the policy that he puts forward is one that can be sustained,” the press secretary added before criticizing Republicans for not acting on immigration reform.
Watch the exchange below: