Does President Obama think he’s emperor of the United States?
That’s the question a reporter dared to ask the White House in a press briefing Tuesday.
ABC reporter Jonathan Karl recalled Obama’s argument that he doesn’t have legal authority to bypass Congress and declare amnesty through an executive order. On Feb. 14, 2013, Obama said, “I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”
At Tuesday’s press briefing, Karl asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, “Does the president still stand by what he said last year when he said, ‘I am not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.’ Is that still operative?”
“Absolutely,” Earnest replied.
“Not a king, either?” asked Karl, as the audience chuckled.
“That’s right,” said Earnest flatly.
Watch the video of the exchange:
Karl explained, “Because [Obama] was asked very specifically about the idea of expanding the deferred action executive order for the DREAMers to their parents. And he said September 17th last year on Telemundo, very clearly: ‘If we start broadening that, then essentially I would be ignoring the law in a way that would be very difficult to defend legally so that is not an option.Is that still operative – when the president said specifically that expanding the DACA executive order is not an option because it would be ignoring the law? Does he still believe that?”
Earnest replied, “Well Jon, I don’t want to get ahead of – what – any sort of announcements that the president may make, before the end of the year, about executive actions that he may take to fix our broken immigration system. Since [the Telemundo] interview aired, the president did direct the attorney general and the secretary of homeland security to conduct a review of the law to determine what, if any, authority he could use to try to fix some of the problems that House Republicans have refused to address. So this is something that has been under consideration for some time …”
Karl interrupted, “So just to be clear, you’re saying this is no longer operative because we’ve had a review. So when the president said that expanding DACA to apply to parents of DREAMers would be ‘broadening and essentially ignoring the law in a way that would be difficult to defend legally, that it’s not an option’ – that statement is no longer operative?”
Earnest replied, “Well, what I’m saying is, we’ll have an opportunity to evaluate the options that the president has chosen to take after he’s announced that …”
“But I’m not asking about the options,” Karl interjected. “I’m just saying: Does the president still stand by what he said in that interview in September last year?”
Earnest shot back, “Well, Jon, obviously there are some things that have changed. …”
“So no,” Karl responded.
“Well it’s not …” Earnest stuttered and began repeating himself. “Obviously there are some things that have changed. We have been in a situation where the president has ordered a broader, in-depth review of the existing law to determine what sort of executive authority does rest with the presidency to determine what sort of steps he could take.”
David Rutz of the Washington free Beacon recently published the following compilation of the many times Obama spoke against dependency on executive orders, including when Obama stated, “I am not a dictator, I’m the president”: