President Barack Obama used a short Aug. 6 press conference to tout his domestic priorities, and to sideline foreign crises in Ukraine and Israel.
He declined to offer military aid to Ukraine if it is invaded by Russia and he declined to threaten Hamas with penalties if it doesn’t ratchet down its war machine.
However, he showed more energy as he described plans to punish U.S.-based companies if they move their headquarters overseas, and when he talked about providing an executive amnesty for several million illegal immigrants.
He began the event one hour late and he only took four questions. He normally holds a press conference in August, and he will leave for an 16-day August vacation on Aug. 19, in Martha’s Vinyard, Mass.
“The American people want to see action” on immigration, he said, even though many polls shows that Americans overwhelmingly oppose his immigration policies.
The House GOP refuses to act amid pressure from the Senate and from House Democrats, from business and other pressure, group, Obama complained. So he’s going to use his power over federal agencies to act where Congress hasn’t approved a bill, he said.
“I’m going to seize those opportunities and that’s what the American people expect me to do,” he said.
But “we’re going to make sure that every time we take on one of these [executive action] steps, we are working within the confines of our [legal] powers,” he said.
The public doesn’t want him “standing around twiddling my thumbs waiting for Congress to get something done,” Obama declared.
However, any amnesty for illegal immigrants is unpopular and is likely to push more swing-voters to support the GOP in November, and increase the likelihood of a GOP majority in the Senate. (RELATED: Midterm Election Is All About Amnesty, Says Sessions)
A GOP-majority Senate would minimize the chance Obama could advance progressive goals during the last two years of his second term.
GOP leaders, including Sen. Jeff Sessions and GOP-leaning advocacy groups, such as the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, are calling on voters to rally against the amnesty, and to pressure Democratic Senators to legally curb Obama’s planned executive amnesty.
“You can stop this, we can stop it together,” Sessions said in an Aug. 5 speech. “The people control their government [and] allowing any president to nullify law is a threat to the future of our Republic and the power of the people.”
Obama also outlined his intention to penalize companies that legally move their headquarters overseas in search of lower-tax rates. He declined to describe the penalties, but suggested he would move quickly.
“We don’t want to see this trend grow… that kind of herd mentality is something we want to avoid, so we need to move quickly,” he said.
During his press conference, Obama was asked if he would offer military aid to Ukraine while Russians forces assemble on its borders.
Obama declined, and said the current sanctions against Russia are working. That failure to promise aid may be interpreted by Russian President Vladimir Putin as a green light for invasion.
When asked about Hamas’s power in the Gaza strip, Obama said he doesn’t sympathize with Hamas, but he did not call for a quick disarming of the terrorist group or even call for an election that would allow Gaza voters to choose an alternative government. Instead, he called for a cease fire and a deal that would open up trade routes for Gazans.
Israel and Egypt oppose open trade because they fear it will be used by Hamas to import thousands of rockets to replace those recently fired into Israel.