Weeping willow, John Boehner, had some grievances to air and they weren’t pretty. Check this out.
“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.
When it came to the Democrat primaries, Boehner asserted his belief that although Bernie Sanders has put up a significant fight, Hillary Clinton will win the nomination over Bernie Sanders. While stating that he disagreed with Sanders on all the issues, the former Speaker also called Sanders a nice guy and the most honest politician in the race.
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.
Time in office
Kennedy also spent a large portion of the talk asking the former speaker about his time in office and his relationship with President Obama. Having been elected to office 13 times – a number which he was quick to clarify with Kennedy – Boehner said he had learned a lot from previous speakers, including Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi.
Throughout the talk, Boehner frequently referenced the Freedom Caucus as the “knuckleheads” and “goofballs” in Congress. When Kennedy asked about the Democrats in Congress, Boehner asserted that both parties have their own inner-divisions.
“The thing that’s different about Republicans and Democrats is that [Democrats] do their fights behind closed doors,” the former speaker said. “Republicans are way too independent for that.”