Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) occasionally dropped his guard during his tenure, and offered some candid, often pointed, barbs towards his Republican colleagues. But now that he’s no longer in office, the former GOP leader has even less of an incentive to be guarded.
The Stanford Daily, the university’s student paper, reported today on Boehner’s on-campus appearance last night, during which the former Speaker shared some thoughts on the 2016 presidential race.
Much of the discussion – and laughs – focused on Boehner’s views on the current presidential candidates. Segueing into the topic, Kennedy asked Boehner to be frank given that the event was not being broadcasted, and the former Speaker responded in kind. When specifically asked his opinions on Ted Cruz, Boehner made a face, drawing laughter from the crowd.“Lucifer in the flesh,” the former speaker said. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
All right, but why don’t you tell us how you really feel, Mr. Speaker.
I should note that the Boehner quote hasn’t been independently verified and there doesn’t appear to be a video of his Stanford appearance. But it’s also incredibly easy to believe that the reporting is accurate given the former Speaker’s longtime hatred of Ted Cruz, even before the senator launched a presidential campaign.
Note the pride in which Boehner described Cruz as a “jackass” last year.
As for why, exactly, the former Speaker hates the Texan quite so much, there’s no great mystery here: Cruz has never had much influence with the Senate Republicans he ostensibly works with every day, but he’s enjoyed considerable influence over House Republicans, who he repeatedly urged to ignore their own Speaker during Boehner’s tenure.
It’s not much of a stretch to think Cruz contributed to the conditions that forced Boehner to step down as Speaker without any meaningful accomplishments.
In last night’s Stanford appearance, Boehner also reportedly told the audience that he would vote for Donald Trump if he’s the Republican presidential nominee, but he couldn’t vote for Cruz. To be sure, the Texas senator faces long odds anyway, but it’s nevertheless striking to think the party’s recent Speaker of the House – a loyal, lifelong Republican – couldn’t bring himself to vote for his own party’s presidential candidate if it’s Ted Cruz.
As for the senator’s reaction to all of this, I haven’t seen a formal Cruz reaction just yet, but two years ago, the Washington Post reported that the Texan actually “likes” being hated by Boehner.