John Boehner unchained: "I did my best to bring our party together, but I don't know what the knuckleheads want"

Boehner calls Ted Cruz's 2013 government shutdown the "dumbest thing" he's ever seen: Thank God he didn't win

By Sophia Tesfaye
May 12, 2016 11:51PM (UTC)
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(AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

“Every day when I read the news I’m reminded of how happy I am that I’m not in the chaos,” retired House speaker John Boehner said at a business conference on Thursday.

While his ambitious successor, Paul Ryan, held the first meeting aimed at party unification with Republican presumptive presidential nominee  Donald Trump, a relaxed Boehner spoke at the economics-focused SALT Conference at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.


"This is going to be a presidential campaign like we've never seen before," Boehner told moderator Steven Rattner, adding that anyone who thinks Trump can't win the White House should "just watch."

The retired Ohio lawmaker said that while he doesn't support Trump's unconstitutional proposal to temporarily ban all Muslims from the United States and called Trump's position on waterboarding “a bit harsh," Boehner said that he has no qualms about voting for Trump even though he is “not quite my style.”

Boehner also went further with his scathing critique of failed presidential candidate Ted Cruz, after calling the Texas senator "Lucifer in the flesh" at an event at Stanford recently.


"Thank God that guy from Texas didn’t win,” Boehner said on Thursday. “I got criticized by some Satanic organization for giving Lucifer a bad name,” he told the crowd to laughter. Boehner called the 2013 government shutdown led by Cruz the “dumbest thing I ever saw.”

The candid former speaker also opened up about his contentious dealings with members of his own caucus.

"I did my best to bring our party together, but I don't know what the knuckleheads want," Boehner reportedly told the crowd, referring to the right-wing House Freedom Caucus that drove him out of Washington, D.C. with their demands for strict conservative orthodoxy without compromise. The ultra conservative group quickly launched a defense aimed at Boehner on Twitter:


Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Donald Trump Election 2016 Elections 2016 Gop Civil War John Boehner Republicans Ted Cruz