A contrite House Speaker John Boehner denied today that he was mocking his Republican colleagues when he mimicked them last week complaining in a whiny way that immigration reform is "too hard."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa. It was no mocking," Boehner insisted at a news conference on Capitol Hill following a meeting with the House Republican Conference. "Listen, you all know me. You know, I, you tease the ones you love right? But some people misunderstood what I had to say."
Boehner was referring to his performance at a luncheon last in his district when he told an audience he wasn't sure whether an immigration bill would get done this year, but that he thought it should be passed.
"I think we should [pass immigration reform], but the appetite… amongst my colleagues for doing this is not real good," Boehner said last Friday.
He then delivered an impersonation of some of his House Republican colleagues, portraying them as a whiny group, reluctant to take on the toughest legislative challenges.
"Here's the attitude: 'Ohh, don't make me do this! Ohh, this is too hard!' You should hear 'em," Boehner joked before a luncheon at Brown's Run County Club in Madison Township, Ohio. "We get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems and it's remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don't want to."
But today, Boehner appeared contrite after discussing the issue with his members.
"I can rib people just a little too much sometimes. This wouldn't be the first time," he said today.
Boehner said that during his explanation to colleagues this morning he stressed that "the biggest impediment" House Republicans face in the plight to move immigration reform forward "is that the American people don't trust the president to enforce or implement the law that we may or may not pass."
Boehner did not commit to passing an immigration bill before the end of the year, when the Senate's comprehensive immigration bill expires.
"We're going to continue to work with our members and have discussions and to see if there's a way forward," Boehner said. "But the president has to take action himself. He's got to show the American people and show the Congress that he can be trusted to implement the law the way it may be passed."
Boehner said he would not call on indicted Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., to resign, but indicated he was satisfied Grimm was stripped of his position on the Committee on Financial Services.
"All members should be held to the highest ethical standard," Boehner said. "Mr. Grimm is under indictment. He resigned from his committee assignment, and I think he made the right decision."
Grimm was indicted for fraud, perjury and obstruction.