Boehner: ‘Not My Job’ to Refute Right-Wing Birthers (Video)
February 14, 2011
(ChattahBox Political News)—Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) managed to out-slime fellow birther apologist Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). It wasn’t easy, but Boehner trumped Cantor’s squirrelly smirk fest with fake indignation after being called out by “Meet the Press” host David Gregory for refusing to repudiate the persistent and offensive birther conspiracy theories perpetuated by the Republican party. “It’s not my job,” to tell people what to think, declared Boehner. And whether President Obama is a secret Muslim, “I’ll take him at his word,” that he’s Christian said Boehner. In other words, the guy could be a secret Muslim Kenyan usurper. Who really knows, right? What a despicable performance by a so-called “leader.”
Boehner made his weaselly remarks during an appearance on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” in which David Gregory asked Boehner to respond to a clip of a recent Sean Hannity show that promoted the conspiracy theory that President Obama is a secret Muslim. Boehner, just like Cantor, rejected the idea that as a Republican “leader,” he bore some responsibility to condemn the wild right-wing conspiracy theories that seek to delegitimize our first black president, as the “other.”
GREGORY: Do you not think it’s your responsibility to stand up to that kind of ignorance?
BOEHNER: David, it’s not my job to tell the American people what to think. Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people. Having said that, the state of Hawaii has said that he was born there. That’s good enough for me. The president says he’s a Christian. I accept him at his word.
GREGORY: But isn’t that a little bit fast and loose? I mean, you are the leader in Congress and you are not standing up to obvious facts and saying these are facts, and if you don’t believe that it’s nonsense?
BOEHNER: I just outlined the facts as I understand them. I believe that the president is a citizen. I believe the president is a Christian, I’ll take him at his word.
GREGORY: But that kind of ignorance over whether he’s a Muslim doesn’t concern you?
BOEHNER: Listen, the American people have the right to think what they want to think. I can’t — it’s not my job to tell them.
GREGORY: Why isn’t it your job to stand up and say, no, the facts are these? Didn’t John McCain do that in –
When asked about a Republican lawmaker spewing birther rhetoric at last weekend’s CPAC shindig, Boehner fluffed it off as a “joke.”
GREGORY: When you’re saying ‘it’s good enough for me,’ are you really standing up and saying, for those that believe that, or who would talk about that — you had a member of Congress, you had a new Tea Party freshman, who was out just yesterday speaking to conservatives and he said, ‘I’m fortunate enough to be an American citizen by birth and I do have a birth certificate to prove it. That was Raul Labrador, a new Congressman from Idaho. Is that an appropriate way for your members to speak?
BOEHNER: The gentleman was trying to be funny, I would imagine, but remember something – it really is not our job to tell the American people what to believe and what do think. There’s a lot of information out there, people read a lot of things, but I–
GREGORY: You shouldn’t stand up to misinformation or stereotypes?
BOEHNER: I’ve made clear what I believe the facts are.
Gregory then called out Boehner and his fellow Republicans for trying to have it both ways, by saying they personally believe Obama is a Christian natural born citizen, while winking and nodding to the racist birthers.
GREGORY: But is it because it weakens the president politically, it seeks to de-legitimize him, that you sort of want to let it stay out there?
BOEHNER: No! What I’m trying to do is to do my job. Our job is to focus on spending.
Last month, Cantor appeared on the same program, also refusing to condemn birthers, as fringe kooks, saying “I don’t think it’s nice to call anyone crazy.”
No profiles in courage here.