WATCH: WH Press Secretary Squirms On Immigration Question

Struggles to explain why president failed to act on immigration reform when Democrats controlled both houses

When pressed Monday on why President Obama didn’t pass immigration reform in his first two years when the Democrats had full control of Congress, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest struggled to come up with a response. In the end, the best Earnest could do was blame the president’s inaction on “crises,” failing to explain why now—in the midst of, well, crises—the president is so determined to push the issue, even to the point of bypassing Congress.

Fox News’ Ed Henry: Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were running the House and Senate the first two years of this administration. The president vowed back in 2008, “By the end of my first year in office, I will pass comprehensive immigration reform." That was his promise. So they failed to act for two years. Why didn’t he do anything then?

Earnest: Well, I’ll say a couple of things about that, Ed. The first is that the, um... At the time, you will recall, there were many things on the president’s plate—

Henry: As there are now. Israel, Gaza, Syria, the economy... He has a lot going on now, right?

Earnest: Uh, he does, but I think the crises that we faced in 2009 as it related to—as it related to our financial system and our economy hemorrhaging jobs—that that was, understandably, uh, the focal point of congressional activity, but also a lot of activity right here at the White House.

Earnest continued, attempting to convey the sincerity of the administration’s desire to see immigration reform pass “years ago.” Saying that he believed both Democrats and Republicans shared that desire, he found a way to get back on message and blame the GOP:

Earnest: All the more reason that it is completely unreasonable for House Republicans to continue to block common sense reforms that have strong bipartisan support all across the country.

Though Earnest appears happy with himself with the Republican jab—literally trying not to smile during the response—Henry wouldn’t let it go:

Henry: You said several times here, “We’re focused on solving problems”... So you had the House and Senate and White House, 2009 and 2010, why didn’t you focus on solving immigration problems then?

Earnest: And my point is, Ed, there were a lot of, uh, crises that the president was focused on at that point...

During the press secretary's non-answer, of course, he never explained how in the midst of such all-consuming “crises” the president found time to push through Obamacare, the major piece of legislation that ate up both the administration’s and Congress’s focus in those first years, exhausted Washington’s political will, and, in the end, only threatened to worsen the economic turmoil in the country.

Video va WFB

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