According to a report from Politico, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid privately told fellow Senate Democrats what he really thinks of John Boehner's performance as speaker of the House during the ongoing government shutdown.
"He's a coward!" Reid is reported to have exclaimed. The outburst was in reference to Boehner's shifting position on the so-called Obamacare exemption for Congress and staff, which Boehner quietly supported at first before he abandoned it during the lead-up to the government shutdown.
But the animosity extends beyond that particular issue, with Reid and Boehner (and their aides) feuding over the government shutdown, too. In particular, Reid contends that Boehner had earlier promised to pass a "clean" continuing resolution to fund the government, something House Republicans currently refuse to do.
Reid has become the chief proponent of the hardball Democratic strategy, insisting the party will not bend to the demands of the Republicans before the government reopens or the debt ceiling is raised. Reid doesn’t seem to want anyone in the White House to back away from the party’s ironclad stance — a government-funding bill and a debt-ceiling increase with no strings attached.
Reid, though, is unfazed by the growing GOP criticism that he’s responsible for the impasse — and he even took a poke at Boehner on Thursday.
“Some recent stories have even suggested the speaker’s keeping government shut because I hurt his feelings,” Reid told reporters Thursday. “If that’s true, I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings.”
Had Boehner stuck to his word, Reid said, the country wouldn’t be in the mess it finds itself in.