President Obama surprised Congress Tuesday when he attended the 114th Congressional swearing-in ceremony wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt. Republican elected officials looked “stunned” as the president entered congressional chambers. Reporters said the Republican congressmen looked breathless and “whiter than usual.”
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio spoke with media after the ceremony and said, “The shirt is the definition of inappropriate. Racism is not a joke, and the president making such a racist statement is uncalled for on this important day.”
Pressed for more insight, Boehner added, “If the blacks really want to fight for equality, they should listen and do what we say. We know what’s best. First thing, start by pulling up your pants. Second, stop acting so black all the time.”
On a more positive note, Boehner admitted that he “did enjoy the Cuban cigars the president gave me for Christmas.” But “this proves Obama has no idea what he’s doing. Thank God the Republicans are back in control of Congress so the country can start moving back in the white direction, I mean the right direction.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told Fox News he wasn’t aware of the “I can’t breathe” shirt’s meaning. “I don’t understand why he can’t breathe. I thought he quit smoking.”
After being informed by a staff member on the meaning of the protest slogan, McConnell said, “Oh, people are still talking about that? If that guy really couldn’t breathe, how was he able to talk? It doesn’t add up in my estimation.”
You Take My Breath Away
The “I Can’t Breathe” campaign started when New York resident Eric Garner was suffocated by New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo on July 17, 2014.
In recordings captured by onlookers, Garner was heard saying, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” Public outrage ensued following the incident; many professional athletes wore “I can’t breathe” shirts during post game warm-ups, after the police officer was not indicted for murder.
Obama spoke with Barbara Walters after the congressional ceremony and said, “The struggle for justice and equality among the races has been a long road and many miles are left to travel. Think of this shirt as a novelty item I bought at the truck stop while we filled up for cheap gas and grabbed some snacks.
“We are all on this road trip together, and sometimes you need to roll down the window for a breath of fresh air. Wearing this shirt is literally the least I can do to help support the black community during my presidency. But with the Republicans in control of both the House and Senate, I sure as hell can’t breathe.”
With Obama having the potential to be a lame duck President in his final years, his ‘I Can’t Breathe’ was a last-ditch effort to solidify his legacy. “There’s a real struggle here, folks. It’s just not about the public versus the police, or black versus white, or republicans versus democrats. It’s about having a civilized society versus an uncivilized society.”
“Man, quitting smoking while trying to be president certainly wasn’t good timing.”
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