Updated 3:53 p.m. | A spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner is dismissing Friday comments from senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer about the White House taking the threat of impeachment "very seriously."
"We have a humanitarian crisis at our border, and the White House is making matters worse with inattention and mixed signals," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in an email when asked about Pfeiffer's comments. "It is telling, and sad, that a senior White House official is focused on political games, rather than helping these kids and securing the border."
Boehner, R-Ohio, has repeatedly dismissed the idea of impeaching the president when pressed by reporters.
When asked about that, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also noted that Boehner had previously said Republicans wouldn't "shut down the government over health care" either. "We did see that that happened," Earnest noted.
Pfeiffer, at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters, was quoted by Time reacting to questions about impeachment .
“I think a lot of people in this town laugh that off. ... I would not discount that possibility. I think Speaker Boehner, by going down the path of this lawsuit, has opened the door to Republicans possibly considering impeachment at some in the future. ... “I think that impeachment is a very serious thing that has been banded about by the recent Republican vice-presidential nominee and others in a very non-serious way, and no one has even made any allegation of anything that would be within six universes of what is generally considered in that space. But no, we take it very seriously and I don’t think it would be a good thing.”While Sarah Palin has urged impeachment of the president — a fact also noted by Earnest — so far, no one in the House has pressed articles of impeachment. Any member can takes such articles straight to the House floor.
Many on both sides of the aisle believe impeaching the president would only help Democrats. Jim Acosta of CNN pushed Earnest on whether the administration talking up the prospects of impeachment was simply a fundraising ploy. (Earnest didn't take the bait).
While Republicans have the votes to impeach the president in the House, a trial in the Senate would be certain to fail to remove the president from office.
The impeachment chatter also comes as a poll showing about one third of the country supporting impeachment — but a majority of Republicans. Related: Why House Conservatives Don't Support Impeachment