In an interview with the Stanford Daily, former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh” and declared that he would never vote for him. He also referred to the Texas Republican as a “miserable” SOB, prompting Cruz to say that he does not recall having ever worked with Boehner. But a number of media outlets, including Fox News — a network talk show host Mark Levin now calls a “Donald Trump super PAC” — said on Thursday that Boehner hired Cruz to represent him in a 1998 case involving an intercepted phone call between Boehner and then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Other media sites repeated the mantra, implying that Boehner specifically hired Cruz to handle the case. A report at the Business Insider, for example, said the former speaker “hired Cruz, who had recently served as a clerk for then Chief Justice William Rehnquist.”
Cruz also made a press appearance defending Boehner in the case. “Congressman McDermott has consistently attempted to delay the litigation and drive up the expense. It is reasonably expected that Congressman Boehner will use the means at his disposal to raise the funds to pursue this lawsuit,” he told the Seattle Times in 1998.
But it turns out there’s more to the story than what’s currently being reported. While it is true that Cruz worked on the case, it does not appear that he was specifically hired by Boehner to do so, and, the Business Insider said, he didn’t work on the case for very long.
Responding to the claim on Twitter, Cruz spokesman Brian Phillips said the GOP contender was a “junior associate” on the case and may have met Boehner. The campaign issued a statement to the conservative Right Scoop regarding the issue.
“It is false and misleading to describe Ted Cruz as having been ‘John Boehner’s lawyer.’ When Cruz was a young lawyer, his boss (Mike Carvin) was hired to be Boehner’s lawyer in one case,” the statement said. “Cruz worked as a junior associate on that case, but he doesn’t remember even meeting Boehner, much less ever having had a substantive conversation with him.”
Press secretary Catherine Frazier told Fox News the same thing. “He was a junior associate and his involvement didn’t extend beyond assisting with briefs and attending meetings with [Boehner’s] staff,” she said.
Sadly, a great deal of misleading information has spread during the current campaign, apparently designed to hurt Cruz in the polls. One report, for example, claims that a photo “proves” Cruz’s father played a role in the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. The campaign was also rocked by a National Enquirer report that Cruz allegedly had affairs with as many as five women.
Although Boehner — seen as a “Republican in name only” by many conservatives — now believes Cruz is the devil, he once praised him during an appearance on the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno. “I don’t always agree with him, but he’s a good guy,” Boehner told Leno.