Republicans are still plotting a response strategy to President Barack Obama’s executive actions to make changes to the nation’s immigration system.
The party has been steadfastly united in its opposition to the president’s actions. But they disagree on how to proceed. Some want to trigger what would amount to a game of chicken that could lead to another federal government shutdown. But most do not want to let Obama’s move drastically affect what they’ll do, fearing overreach that could plummet views of the party ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Then there are some who think the GOP response should be as extreme as Obama's unilateral action. Here are seven of the more outlandish GOP reactions to Obama’s actions:
Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate
Huckabee offered this colorful metaphor in a tweet reacting to the speech:
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma)
In an interview with USA Today on Wednesday, Coburn invoked protests in Ferguson and warned of potential violence in response to Obama’s announcement.
"The country's going to go nuts, because they're going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it's going to be a very serious situation," Coburn told the paper. "You're going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy. … You could see violence."
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota)
Bachmann, who is retiring at the end of this Congress, speculated on Wednesday that Obama was hatching a plot to enroll millions of new Democratic voters — and called undocumented immigrants “illiterate.”
“The president has a very single-minded vision. He’s looking at new voters for 2016,” Bachmann said. “… People do vote without being a citizen. It’s a wink and a nod, we all know it’s going to happen."
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama)
Brooks told Slate’s Betsy Woodruff that Obama should perhaps face impeachment, or even jail time.
“At some point, you have to evaluate whether the president’s conduct aids or abets, encourages, or entices foreigners to unlawfully cross into the United States of America,” he continued. “That has a five-year in-jail penalty associated with it.”
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)
King, famous for his eyebrow-raising statements about undocumented immigrants, also said Republicans shouldn’t rule out impeachment, but said it should be considered only as a “last option.”
Steve Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State
Kobach suggested on his weekly radio show that Obama’s general lawlessness could lead to what he called “ethnic cleansing.”
“What protects us in America from any kind of ethnic cleansing is the rule of law, of course,” Kobach said. “And the rule of law used to be unassailable, used to be taken for granted in America. And now, of course, we have a president who disregards the law when it suits his interests. So, while I normally would answer that by saying, ‘Steve, of course we have the rule of law, that could never happen in America,’ I wonder what could happen. I still don’t think it’s going to happen in America, but I have to admit, things are strange and they are happening.”
Newt Gingrich, former presidential candidate and House Speaker
Appearing on CNN immediately after Obama's speech, Gingrich called Obama's announcement a "Gruber speech," referencing a controversy involving one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act that has popped up in headlines recently. The ties between Obama's actions and the comments of the architect, Jonathan Gruber, weren't immediately clear.
Brett LoGiurato is the senior national political correspondent at Fusion, where he covers all things 2016. He'll give you everything you need to know about politics, with a healthy side of puns.