Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that "race" is one reason Republicans are avoiding an immigration overhaul. During her weekly press conference, the California Democrat implied there were ulterior reasons Republicans weren't addressing immigration.
"I think race has something to do with them not bringing up the immigration bill," Pelosi said. "I've heard them say to the Irish, 'If it was just you, it would be easy.'"
Pelosi was answering a question about a testy exchange Tuesday between Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Holder implied Wednesday that he was treated disrespectfully because of his race.
In responding to Holder's comments, Pelosi offered her off-the-cuff thoughts on the role of race in an immigration overhaul.
Pelosi said she didn't know how much race played into Republican criticism of Obama administration officials. But she said the contempt for women was "self-evident."
House Republicans have maintained that they will not take up an immigration overhaul because they do not trust the president to implement it as intended. "The Speaker has been clear that we need to fix our broken immigration system, but, at this point, the American people simply don't trust the President to enforce the law as written," Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, told CQ Roll Call.
During his weekly press conference just minutes later, Boehner fielded the same question about Holder implying that race was part of the reason he had been treated in such an adversarial manner by House Republicans.
"There's no issue of race here," Boehner said.
The Ohio Republican then went on a spirited rant about roadblocks the administration had put up to getting information on controversies such as the attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, Operation Fast and Furious and the IRS political targeting scandal. In response to Pelosi's comments, a GOP leadership aide had stern words for the Minority Leader.
"Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are in a race to see who can be the most vapid and vile, and Pelosi pulled ahead today," the aide said.