White House press secretary Robert Gibbs held a briefing Tuesday just after Senate Republicans led a successful effort to derail repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Below is the transcript of his remarks.
Gibbs: “The president believes this is a fundamentally unfair policy and has spoken out not just in the past couple of years but over the course of his public career even when this was not the most popular thing to say to do…
Q: What’s the prospect of passing repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in the lame duck Congress?
Gibbs: There’s not been a lot of discussion around here that I’ve been a part of what happens in the post-election Congress on – there may be a whole host of issues including ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ that remain undecided. Our focus right now is trying to get the business of the people done as Congress remains in session.
Q: I’ve had a couple of progressive sources email me now asking why you’re not hammering Republicans harder from the lectern. They say not that not only did DADT not get overturned but military funding was delayed today…Dream Act also delayed…
Gibbs: “I’ll repeat what I said earlier. I think what we saw—the delay was frustrating because the bill contains important funding..for our troops. It contained important priorities for this president and this administration in the Dream Act and the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But once again you have the new normal of needing to have 60 people to agree to move forward on simply providing the Pentagon with the funding that it needs for its troops. And I think that is a sad, sad that that’s the bar where everything has to go through.
Q: Do you think that Lady Gaga actually did more to help pass this bill this week than the White House?
Gibbs: No, because we wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for the president … We wouldn’t be taking on these issues if it weren’t for the president. This was an issue that passed the House because of the president and this administration and the work of many members of Congress. But understand … as I just said, that it takes 60 votes just to get on a bill, just to consider a piece of legislation that funds the Pentagon. It’s something that’s remarkable in the process that we’ve come to this situation where funding the Pentagon takes the consent of three-fifths of those that are elected. It’s certainly not healthy for the way our government works and sets an awful precedent for getting things —
[Loud shouts by reporters drown out his concluding word. He ends news briefing and leaves the room as reporters call out more questions.]