For the second time in as many weeks, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey -- who has become the corporate personification of the Tea Party movement -- verbally smacked down former Rep. Tom Tancredo, another Tea Party fixture, for his unsympathetic views on immigration reform.
Speaking at the National Press Club on Monday, Armey called the Colorado Republican a "destructive" force on the Republican Party and claimed that, as Majority Leader, he made sure that Tancredo "didn't get on a stage" to profess his hard-line views on immigration.
"The Republicans -- when I was a Majority Leader -- I saw to it that Tom Tancredo did not get on a stage because I saw how destructive he was... Handle it with some sense of compassion and some sense of civility. The Hispanic-American is the most natural-born constituency for the Republican Party since the Black American was in 1965. And these guys are trying to blow it. Just do it right... There is room in America. If you love America, if you love freedom, love work, are willing to pay your way, pay your taxes and obey the law, you should be welcome in America."
"Republicans need to get it right, and get off this goofiness that they have," Armey added. "Ronald Reagan said, 'Tear down that wall.' Tom Tancredo said, 'Build that wall.' Who's right? America's not a nation that builds walls. America's a nation that opens doors, and we should be there."
Armey noted earlier that the GOP had "frustrated [him] to tears on immigration" noting that leadership was alienating the "fastest-growing voting demographic in America."
"We have serious issues," he concluded.
Armey's solution to the problem is to fix the Immigration and Nationalization Service so that it can do its job "in a human fashion." Then you control the borders, he added.
This is one of the glaring fissures within the Tea Party movement and one over which Armey has expressed discomfort in the past. In an appearance on the "Charlie Rose Show" last Monday, he whacked Tancredo for a "harsh and uncharitable and mean-spirited attitude on the immigration issue."
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