During Friday’s White House press conference, Special Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest declined to apologize for the Internal Revenue Service targeting President Barack Obama deemed “outrageous.”
The Republican National Committee highlighted the exchange between Earnest and The Daily Caller on their Youtube channel immediately as a part of its effort to place attention on the media scandal.
Mark Meckler, president of the conservative Citizens for Self Governance, told TheDC the Obama administration “should apologize on behalf of the IRS and on behalf of the U.S. government,” calling it “a simple human courtesy.” He also said that he thought “the president was behaving worse than a child,” by not owning up to the actions taken by the IRS.
Earnest tiptoed around TheDC’s question by expressing the president’s “willingness to cooperate on oversight efforts” as the scandal unfolds.
“What the president has said is that he is troubled by the wrongdoing that apparently occurred at the IRS.” Earnest said, “And he is committed to making sure that we get to the bottom of what exactly happened and to make sure that we have safeguards in place to make sure to prevent those kind of things from happening again.”
Earnest went on to explain that the president is taking many steps toward ameliorating the issue, including the appointment of a bi-partisan civil servant to discover who should be held accountable for the IRS’s wrongdoings, and that the White House will continue to work to get to the bottom of the scandal.
“I know there’s an appetite in Congress to take a look at what exactly happened” Earnest continued. “And I think the cooperation that you’ve seen from us, well I would say this, you’ve actually already seen cooperation from us on this effort in terms of senior administration officials who have testified before Congress and as a legitimate oversight effort to move forward you can anticipate that the administration will cooperate with them.”
The President has apologized for wrongdoings in the past, and many Tea Part leaders are calling on him to do so in this situation.
“How can [Obama] think public opinion outweighs our First Amendment rights?” National Coordinator of Tea Part Patriots, Jenny Beth Martin said. “It’s unbelievable and this falls far from the leadership we expect from the President of the United States of America.”
Earnest also addressed the Department of Justice’s announced criminal inquiry into the matter. While the DOJ will determine whether or not there was any criminal involvement, that’s a decisively different matter from the president’s actions.
“So there are a lot of people who are taking a careful look at this and will give us an opportunity to get to the bottom on what exactly happened and will hopefully allow us to put in some safeguard to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Despite the administration’s many plans to ameliorate the issue, the President still has yet to apologize.
“We still don’t know how far this abuse goes, when it started and who started it.” Martin said “We need apologies, accountability, and actual leadership from our elected representatives—and we will continue to fight until we have them.”
McHenry Lee contributed to the reporting of the article