Media presses WH on Obama's 'Emperor' quote


This week, NumbersUSA ran two different advertisements in the Capitol Hill publication, Roll Call, highlighting Pres. Obama's past quote, "I'm not an Emperor of the United States." He made the statement during a Google hangout with activists in early-2013, but he may now be regretting it. On Wednesday, White House press secretary, Josh Earnest was grilled by ABC's Jon Karl on the quote and the president's upcoming executive amnesty.

Here's the back-and-forth between Karl and Earnest:

KARL: 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?

EARNEST: Absolutely.

KARL: I’m not a king either?

EARNEST: That’s right.

KARL: He was asked very specifically about expanding the deferred action executive order for the Dreamers to their parents, and he said, September 17 of last year, Telemundo, very clearly, “If we start expanding that, then I would essentially 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 would "not be an option" because it would be "ignoring the law"? Does he still believe that?

EARNEST: I don’t want to get ahead of any announcements the president is going to make before the end of the year on executive actions that he may take to fix our broken immigration system. Since this 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 and fix some of the problems that House Republicans have refused to address. So this is something that has been under consideration for quite some time by the Attorney General of the United States and the Secretary of Homeland Security.

KARL: Just to be clear, this is no longer operative because we’ve had a review? When the president said expanding DACA to include parents of the Dreamers for instance would be broadening and essentially "ignoring the law" in a way that would be "difficult to defend" legally. It’s "not an option". That statement is no longer operative?

EARNEST: We’ll have an opportunity to analyze the actions the president has decided to take after they’re announced.

KARL: I’m not asking about the options. I’m just saying, does the president still stand by the statements he made in that interview of September of last year?

EARNEST: There are some things that have changed.

KARL: It’s a yes or no.

EARNEST: No, it’s not. We are in a position of where the president has ordered a broader and more in-depth review of existing law to determine what sort of executive authority does rest with the presidency to determine what kind of steps he can take on his own.

To view the exchange, click here. To see all four ads that NumbersUSA has run this week, click here.

Barack Obama