Several of the 43 members of Congress demanding Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation because of Operation Fast and Furious believe it is President Barack Obama’s responsibility to dismiss him if Holder won’t step down on his own. If Obama fails to replace his attorney general, they said, he may share in the guilt for the program’s failure and the resulting scandal.
At a Tuesday press conference, Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador, one of the first lawmakers to demand the attorney general’s resignation, asked if Holder is protecting Obama by remaining at the helm of the Justice Department.
“As our nation’s top enforcer of the principles of law and justice, Mr. Holder has now lost credibility and should step down immediately,” Labrador said. “The question now for Mr. Holder is whether he’s only protecting himself or whether he’s protecting others, perhaps all the way to the top of the administration.”
Rep. Allen West of Florida added that if Obama fails to act, he will ultimately share the blame for Fast and Furious.
“I ask the president of the United States of America to recommend to Eric Holder that he resign from his position,” West said. “If the president does not agree with that stance, then perhaps the president of the United States of America is also complicit in this horrible, tragic event.”
Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas said President Obama has had plenty of time to call Holder and ask that he resign. He announced that he had checked Obama’s public schedule, and suggested a specific time for the president to have that conversation.
“I believe it’s time for the president to join us and step up to the plate and ask Mr. Holder to resign,” Huelskamp said at the Tuesday presser. “I’ve checked the president’s schedule and it looks pretty open today. Perhaps he could place a call shortly after he takes off from Hawaii and heads to Australia. It’d just take a few minutes. He could have done it yesterday, but of course I guess he was on the golf course and was too busy.”
The White House and the Justice Department have ignored the growing pressure from members of Congress for Holder’s resignation, even as media scrutiny has intensified. The number of federal lawmakers calling for Holder to step down has steadily increased since Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold first suggested it on Oct. 4.