MSNBC’s Chris Hayes made a valiant effort to get a straight answer out of Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) this weekend, when Hayes asked Brooks what his exact position on immigration reform is and whether he supports the mass deportation of the 11 million immigrants already here.
The result, captured by Crooks and Liars, is must-watch. Brooks hems and haws and talking-points himself around the question as Hayes repeatedly tries to pin him down. Eventually the segment ends with Brooks having refused to answer. Here were Brooks’ responses (to the question of whether he wants to deport the 11 million):
“Well I think it’s very sad she’s in the circumstances she’s in…” [referring to Astrid Silva, the DREAMer who introduced President Obama before his Nevada speech last Friday]
“If I have to make decisions between Americans and immigrants…”
“There may be circumstances in which that position [mass deportation] would be in the best interests of the United States of America. I am willing to compromise if we can get a president who will enforce our immigration laws; we don’t have that right now…”
“The compromise comes in the form of compassion…we don’t have time in this segment to cover the nuances of that…”
If an extremist like Mo Brooks — who once said that he would “do anything short of shooting” undocumented immigrants — no longer feels comfortable talking about mass deportation, how long before the GOP realizes that it has no option but to pass immigration reform?
The rest of the video is worth watching too. Brooks spends time refusing to talk about former President Reagan’s executive actions for immigrants, literally hearing a question about Reagan and answering about Bill Clinton instead. Here’s the transcript from Crooks and Liars:
HAYES: When President Reagan granted deferred action to 200,000 people from El Salvador that had come here illegally, was he breaking the law in the same way?
BROOKS: I have not seen the facts and circumstances —
HAYES: But that would seem to be granting deferred action to people who come, wouldn’t it?
BROOKS: Again, I have not examined what Bill Clinton did. This is a very serious —
HAYES: No, no, no, I’m sorry but President Reagan. President Ronald Reagan.
(Brooks continues to steamroll right over Hayes here)
BROOKS: The individual facts are important, the mental intent of the actor, in that case, Bill Clinton, now Barack Obama. Those factors are important. Causation is very important. So there are a lot of things you have to look at before you pass judgment.
And the video of their interview: