Erica Werner

WASHINGTON: House Speaker John Boehner has told Republican lawmakers he was just teasing them when he ridiculed their reluctance to act on immigration legislation.

The speaker offered the explanation Tuesday during a closed-door meeting with lawmakers back on Capitol Hill after a two-week recess, and later discussed it at a press conference.

Boehner said he told the lawmakers that you always tease the ones you love, but that some people had misunderstood.

The comments in question happened in Ohio last week when Boehner said Republican House members donít want to take on immigration because itís too hard. He imitated them whining in protest.

Some conservatives criticized Boehner for blaming the GOP instead of President Barack Obama. Boehner said Tuesday that lawmakersí distrust of Obama was the real reason for inaction.