Last month, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) became the first congressman in his party to hint at impeaching President Obama for purportedly violating his oath of office by not completely securing the border. Since then, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has joined Smith in declaring that Obama has violated his oath of office.
ThinkProgress caught up with Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) at a town hall meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska last week to get his take on the matter. Fortenberry, who lacks no conservative credentials with an 87% lifetime conservative rating from the American Conservative Union, was unwilling to join his colleagues. Not only did he argue that Obama had not violated his oath of office, but he also recoiled at the notion that his colleagues would make such incendiary comments:
TP: I had a quick question about immigration policy in particular. There’s a lot of hot feelings out here about it. Do you think that if President Obama doesn’t address the issue, that that would be a violation of his oath of office?
FORTENBERRY: Well, I don’t think it’d be a violation of his oath of office. The problem is, like I was asked today earlier, when is the immigration reform going to happen? [...]
TP: I know Congressman Lamar Smith has come out and said that Obama is permitting illegal immigration is coming really close to a violation of his oath of office.
FORTENBERRY: Lamar said that?
TP: Yeah, he did. If Republicans were to take back Congress next term and if he were to bring up a bill like that, you’re saying you don’t think you would support that?
FORTENBERRY: That the president had violated his oath of office? Well I don’t…These things get a little politically heated. I don’t like to throw things around like that, that’s pretty serious. I like Lamar Smith, he’s a friend of mine. [...] I just don’t want to throw stuff around like that, frankly.