John Boehner appeared on the Stanford University campus last night for an interview to discuss his time in office and, among other things, the 2016 presidential race. The student newspaper noted the speaker’s “joking yet blunt attitude,” as the speaker acknowledged, “You can call me boner, beaner, jackass, happy to answer to almost anything.”
In addition to dropping his guard to reveal a joking tone, the former speaker dropped a few harsh words about Cruz. And revealed something new about Donald Trump.
Via The Stanford Daily:
“You can call me boner, beaner, jackass, happy to answer to almost anything,” said former Speaker of the House John Boehner as he took the stage at CEMEX Auditorium on Wednesday evening. Boehner joined David M. Kennedy, faculty director and history professor emeritus, in a talk hosted by Stanford in Government (SIG) and the Stanford Speakers Bureau.
This joking yet blunt attitude set the tone for the night as Kennedy and the former Speaker discussed topics ranging from Boehner’s upbringing in Ohio to the future of the Republican Party. For the second half of the program, Kennedy opened up the floor to student questions.
2016 Presidential election
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.”
Boehner described other Republican candidates as friends. In particular, the former speaker said he has played golf with Donald Trump for years and that they were “texting buddies.”
His friendship with Ohio Governor John Kasich, however, was a little more ambiguous.
“[Kasich] requires more effort on my behalf than all my other friends … but he’s still my friend, and I love him,” Boehner said.
Boehner for the most part accepted Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee, though he did express his surprise at the candidate’s success. While he did not praise Trump’s policies, the Speaker did say he would vote for Trump in the general election if he becomes the Republican nominee. The former Speaker said he would not, however, vote for Cruz.
On Clinton, Boehner’s reviews were more mixed. Early in the talk, the speaker impersonated Clinton, saying “Oh I’m a woman, vote for me,” to a negative crowd reaction. Later, he added that he had known Clinton for 25 years and finds her to be very accomplished and smart.
Boehner also speculated about surprises that could come closer to the Democratic National Convention if Hillary Clinton’s emails became a larger scandal.
“Don’t be shocked … if two weeks before the convention, here comes Joe Biden parachuting in and Barack Obama fanning the flames to make it all happen,” Boehner said.
The former speaker also noted his proudest accomplishment: “I think my proudest accomplishment is walking out of there the same jackass I was 25 years before,” Boehner said.
Cruz has previously said he “likes” being hated by Boehner, who became a very visible representation of the Republican “establishment” and its disconnect from the American voters who sent them to Washington. Here’s how the senator from Texas responded to Boehner’s harsh words:
Tell me again who will stand up to Washington? Trump, who’s Boehner’s “texting and golfing buddy,” or Carly & me? https://t.co/qvYPSaTEV7
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 28, 2016
Indeed, some Cruz supporters are taking Boehner’s words as an endorsement of Cruz and his anti-establishment status.
Trump supporters are, of course, jumping on Boehner’s words as more evidence of Cruz’s unworthiness.
Have a feeling Boehner’s words are just another Rorschach test in this election cycle’s news; people will see what they want to see based on who they support as a candidate.
What do y’all see in them?
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]