House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) did not attempt to disguise his displeasure with the hardliners in his own caucus that claimed credit for his stunning resignation.
“Face The Nation” host John Dickerson on Sunday asked Boehner about the conservative House coalition with which Boehner was constantly feuding, and whether they had unrealistic expectations.
“Absolutely they’re unrealistic!” Boehner blurted out. “But the Bible says beware of false prophets. And there are people out there spreading noise about how much can get done.”
Boehner proceeded to list some of his accomplishments – including reducing the federal deficit and stopping major proposals to increase taxes. He noted that all were passed “over the last four and a half years with a Democrat president” – and that all were “voted against by my most conservative members because it wasn’t good enough.”
“Really? This is the part I really don’t understand,” he said.
One conservative member of Congress, in particular, came into Boehner’s crosshairs Sunday – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
When Dickerson asked whether Cruz was a one of the “false prophets” to whom Boehner had referred, the speaker smiled and referred to comments he made at a fundraiser in Colorado earlier this summer. There, he reportedly dismissed Cruz as a “jackass.”
Cruz was one of the chief architects of the 2013 government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act, as he lobbied many conservative members of the House to oppose the legislation that funded the federal government. Boehner referred to this effort on Sunday, calling the attempt a “fool’s errand.” And he suggested those behind it knew they were leading a futile effort.
On Friday, Boehner announced his intention to resign from Congress at the end of October. Though he said he had been planning to step down for quite some time, many saw the timing as a bid to avert another government shutdown.
This time, House conservatives have revolted over funding for Planned Parenthood, which they are seeking to defund over a series of undercover videos detailing the organization’s involvement in abortion-related fetal-tissue research.
Despite his criticism of members of his caucus, the speaker stopped short of labeling his caucus as dysfunctional.
“I wouldn’t call it dysfunction,” Boehner said. “Disagreement, yes.”