President Obama argued during a press conference at the White House Friday that, “the notion that I would threaten the Republicans, that unless they passed gun safety measures that would stop mass shootings, I’m going to shut down the government and not sign an increase in the debt ceiling, would be irresponsible of me.”
Obama criticized the Republicans in Congress for threatening to shut down the government over the funding of Planned Parenthood insisting it would “wreck the entire U.S. economy.”
Barack Obama: I know, for example, that there are many Republicans who are exercised about Planned Parenthood. And I deeply disagree with them on that issue and I think that it’s mischaracterized what Planned Parenthood does. But I understand that they feel strongly about it, and I respect that. But you can’t have an issue like that potentially wreck the entire U.S. economy, anymore than I should hold the entire budget hostage to my desire to do something about gun violence. I feel just as strongly about that. And I think I’ve got better evidence for it. But the notion that I would threaten the Republicans, that unless they passed gun safety measures that would stop mass shootings, I’m going to shut down the government and not sign an increase in the debt ceiling, would be irresponsible of me and the American people rightly would reject that. Well, same is true for them. There are some fights that we fight individually. They want to defund Planned Parenthood. There’s a way to do it. Pass a law, override my veto. That’s true across a whole bunch of issues that they disagree with me on. That’s how democracy works. I got no problem with it, but you have to govern. And I’m hoping that the next Speaker understands that the problem Speaker Boehner had, or Mitch McConnell had, in not dismantling Obamacare, or not eliminating the Department of Education, or not deporting every immigrant in this country, was not because Speaker Boehner or Mitch McConnell didn’t care about conservative principles. It had to do with the fact that they can’t do it, in our system of government, which requires compromise. Just like I can’t do everything I want in passing an immigration bill, or passing a gun-safety bill. And that doesn’t mean that I throw a tantrum and try to wreck the economy and put hard-working Americans, who are just now able to dig themselves out of a massive recession, put them in harm’s way. Wrong thing to do.