Republican Minority Whip: Taking a Position on Arizona Law Is "a False Choice"
This post originally appeared on Think Progress.
Since Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed an over-reaching and radical anti-immigration bill into law last week, various conservative media figures, pundits, and former officials have spoken out against it. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough called it “ un-American,” while Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio said he has “ concerns.” However, Republican members of Congress have largely remained silent — with only a handful offering support, coming out against the law, or declining to pick one side or the other.
Yesterady on ABC News’ Top Line, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-AZ) chose the non-committal route. Top Line hosts Rick Klein and David Chalian asked Cantor where he stood on the law four times, but the Virginia Republican refused to go on record either way. At one point, Cantor tried to dismiss the questioning, calling it “a false choice,” without any real explanation as to why:
CHALIAN: How is that a false choice?!
CANTOR: Because no one is going to accept the lawlessness. First and foremost, we are a country of laws. Now are you asking whether I think that America is a country of opportunity? Absolutely. Are we a country built on immigrants? Absolutely.
CHALIAN: I’m asking you if you agree with Marco Rubio that the law goes too far. That’s what I’m asking.
CANTOR: Listen, I can tell you this, I am for making sure that America remains a country that stands of freedom and opportunity for everyone and that means we ought to concentrate on enforcing the law and making sure that we enhance legal immigration so that we can continue to grow and prosper so that we can get America back to work.
As ThinkProgress has previously noted, it appears that some Republicans are unwilling to alienate the right-wing base of their constituencies by coming out against the law. But at the same time, they are afraid to drive the GOP further away from Latinos. Cantor is trying to walk this fine line in a not-so-clever way.