Republican candidate and Texas Senator Ted Cruz is certainly not loved or even liked by his congressional colleagues past or present. Former Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner extensively commented on the GOP candidate and 2016 campaign when he appeared at a Stanford University event on Wednesday evening, April 27, 2016, held at the Stanford’s CEMEX Auditorium and hosted by Stanford in Government (SIG) and the Stanford Speakers Bureau. Boehner in his conversation with faculty director and history professor emeritus David M. Kennedy called Cruz a “miserable son of bitch” and “Lucifer in the flesh.”
In a town hall-style event, the former speaker discussed the 2016 campaign, the Republican and Democratic candidates and his career as speaker and the “future of the Republican Party” with noted historian Kennedy and also took questions from students in attendance.
Despite the ideological differences between the conservative speaker and the liberal student body Boehner speaking in an “informal tone” “drew laughter and smiles” from those attending. Boehner began the session making fun of his name “You can call me boner, beaner, jackass, happy to answer to almost anything.” Kennedy asked Boehner to be blunt and honest and he was.
When discussing the presidential campaign, Texas Senator Ted Cruz received the most ire from the former speaker. Boehner responded using the colorful language he is known for calling Cruz is “Lucifer in the flesh.” Continuing, Boehner elaborated, “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 made it clear that if Cruz were to become the GOP nominee he would not vote for him.
Cruz made the former speaker life difficult during his tenure and he was partially to blame for his decision to retire early. Cruz’s conservative stance put him at odds with Boehner and made it difficult for the speaker when it came to the GOP House of Representatives taking a stand against some of President Barack Obama’s initiatives.
Cruz conspired with the Conservative Freedom Caucus to force an over 20-day government shutdown over Obamacare the healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act. At that time, Boehner called Cruz a “jackass.” That same Conservative Freedom Caucus ended up forcing Boehner from office.
In contrast, Boehner was friends with GOP front-runner Donald Trump. Boehner used to play golf with Trump and said they were close enough he stated that they were “texting buddies.” Boehner did not say he agrees with Trump positions on the issues and policies. Boehner called Trump the presumptive nominee, but is “surprised at the candidate’s success.”
The former speaker also said he was friends with the other GOP candidate, Ohio Governor John Kasich that relationship is more complicated than the clearly defined ones he has with Trump and Cruz. Boehner said, “[Kasich] requires more effort on my behalf than all my other friends … but he’s still my friend, and I love him.”
As for the Democratic candidates front-runner Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Boehner is clear he does not agree with them at all on the issues. The former speaker, however, has high praise for his former Congressional colleague Sanders, who he called “a nice guy and the most honest politician in the race.” Boehner also praised Sanders campaign.
Although Boehner said, “he knows Clinton for 25 years and finds her to be very accomplished and smart,” he did mock her campaign’s sole focus on the fact she is a female candidate. Boehner even “impersonated Clinton” saying, “Oh I’m a woman, vote for me,” much to the audience and probably some Clinton supporter’s disappointment.
Still Boehner believes Clinton will be the Democratic nominee that is if the scandal around her private email server as Secretary of state explodes. Currently, the FBI is investigating whether Clinton risked national security with her server and the 22 classified emails that were received and sent from it. In the case, Boehner warned the audience, “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.”
Speaking of the future of the Republican Party Boehner said, “If I were running for president I’d be running on things that unite Republicans. These other issues are just going to keep coming up, and the Democrats know where our soft spots are.”
Boehner “emphasized” that he is, in fact, a moderate Republican like his political hero, Republican President Ronald Reagan (1981-89). Boehner concluded by saying, “Well you know I’m a big fan of Ronald Reagan. But I love all these knuckleheads talking about the party of Reagan. He would be the most moderate Republican elected today.”