Speaking bluntly and forthrightly in front of an assembly of Stanford University students in an event hosted by Professor David Kennedy, former House Speaker John Boehner unloaded on the state of U.S. politics and the upcoming 2016 election.
In stark terms, Boehner described his personal feeling toward Senator Ted Cruz:
“Lucifer in the flesh. 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.”
After drawing cheers and laughter for his raw description of the GOP contender, Boehner described GOP frontrunner Donald Trump as a friend and “texting buddy” and described Ohio Governor John Kasich as a dear friend.
Turning to Democratic candidates, the former Ohio congressman was critical, but not nearly as brusque when outlining his impressions of Mr. Cruz. Mocking Hillary Clinton as running a single-issue campaign focused entirely on women, Boehner later stated he finds Clinton to be an able candidate.
Boehner, however, did not end there with Clinton: Warning of Clinton’s growing e-mail scandal, the former House Speaker did say the possibility for vice-president Joe Biden to enter the race would not surprise him should Hillary Clinton be weakened by her private server scandal.
It was with Vermont democratic socialist Bernie Sanders with whom Boehner reserved the greatest praise.
Speaking glowingly of Clinton’s Democratic rival, Boehner described Sanders as a honorable man who has put up a spirited fight to obtain the nomination and the most honest man in the race.
When addressing the whole of Congress, Boehner described the differences between Democrats and Republicans and implied Democrats may exert a powerful sway over their members in contrast to Republicans, particularly in reference to public displays of dissent when discussing divisions in each Party:
“The thing that’s different about Republicans and Democrats is that [Democrats] do their fights behind closed doors; Republicans are way too independent for that.”
Preferring to remain silent on the subject of his abrupt resignation, speculated by many to be inspired by his frustration with deep divisions among the GOP delegation, Boehner did characterize the House Freedom Caucus as “knuckleheads” and “goofballs.”
The 53rd Speaker resigned in October 2015, one day after Pope Francis I’s address in front of Congress, a moment which Boehner related as the highlight of his congressional career.
Of regrets, Boehner had few. Acknowledging his greatest accomplishment with self-deprecating humor, Boehner stated:
“I think my proudest accomplishment is walking out of there the same jackass I was 25 years before.”
[The Stanford Daily] [Photo courtesy Nafia Chowdhury/The Stanford Daily]