Fri, 2 April 2021, 9:23 pm
Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty John Boehner
Former House Speaker John Boehner has clearly had it with the Republican Party. Or, at least, the ones he had to deal with while in Congress.
The former leader of the House of Representatives — who retired in 2015 after four years managing a fractious group of conservatives that included a significant number of new lawmakers emboldened by backlash to Barack Obama — doesn’t seem to be holding much back anymore about his time on Capitol Hill.
“I may have been Speaker, but I didn’t hold all the power,” Boehner, 71, writes in a new Politico essay, referring to the Republican caucus in Congress at the time as “Crazytown.”
“You could be a total moron and get elected just by having an R next to your name,” he writes about the GOP winning back control of the House in 2010, with 87 newly elected representatives. “And that year, by the way, we did pick up a fair number in that category.”
The Politico essay is adapted from a chapter of the former lawmaker’s upcoming memoir, On the House, due out in late April.
Boehner represented Ohio in Congress from 1991 until 2015, until he ultimately resigned from his four-year run as the Speaker of the House due, according to CNN, to differences of opinion and policy between him and other Republicans.
A Boehner spokesperson confirmed to PEOPLE in February hat there were indeed some “off-script moments” while he recorded the audiobook for his tell-all — with a trusty glass of red wine in hand.
“He pretty much just let it fly, as he did when he was working on the book itself,” the spokesperson said then.
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In his Politico excerpt, Boehner describes a fruitless attempt at teaching the freshman class of Republicans about governance and the importance of working with Democratic colleagues to “actually get things done.”
“A lot of that went straight through the ears of most of them, especially the ones who didn’t have brains that got in the way,” he writes, adding later that the new GOP lawmakers only “wanted wedge issues and conspiracies and crusades.”
Boehner later describes his shock at Fox News’ growing tendency to feed paranoia about then-President Barack Obama as well as baseless — and racist — conspiracy theories claiming he wasn’t born in the U.S.
Boehner pushed back on that in early 2011, he writes.
“They saw me as much of an ‘enemy’ as the guy in the White House,” he writes about conservatives souring on him for his more collegial approach. (Sean Hannity, whom Boehner denounces in his Politico essay, quickly responded on Twitter, deriding Boehner and calling him “weak, timid and what’s up with all the crying John?”)
What Boehner “had not anticipated was the extent to which this new crowd hated—and I mean hated—Barack Obama,” he writes.
Obama “didn’t help himself much either,” Boehner writes, saying the former president didn’t make Republican outreach a top priority during his two terms.
“But on the other hand,” Boehner writes, “how do you find common cause with people who think you are a secret Kenyan Muslim traitor to America?”
As for the senator from Texas, Boehner doesn’t mince words: “There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless asshole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz.”