Outside Washington circles, former House speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is probably best known for two things: His tan and his propensity for blunt (and sometimes semi-vulgar) put-downs.
Boehner has never bothered to put a filter on when talking about people he doesn’t like — reporters, Ted Cruz, President Obama, House conservatives … Ted Cruz. And it might be just us, but it feels like his insults are even sharper and more offensive now that he’s out of public office.
At a town hall Wednesday at Stanford University, in fact, Boehner called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh” — and then went there.
“I’ve never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,” he added. Boehner even suggested he would vote for Donald Trump, but not Cruz.
It’s not the first time this spring he’s talked about Cruz like this; Boehner pulled out the “Lucifer” line to describe Cruz in March to reporters, too. But we decided to take this occasion to debut a definitive ranking of the top 10 Boehner put-downs, ranked from kind of funny to Did he really just say that?
1. “Why would you wear socks that look like that?” -Boehner to an unnamed reporter at a 2015 press conference
2. “You know at the gift shops here, they’ve got these little booklets about how a bill becomes a law. I’ll get that little booklet out of the gift shop, and you can all read it.” -Boehner to a group of reporters at a 2015 press conference
3. “I don’t think he’s got the guts to do it.” -Boehner to reporters in 2013, talking about Obama’s willingness to cut spending during the fiscal cliff debate. (In that same interview, he modified his comment to say the president “doesn’t have the courage” to cut spending.)
4. “It’s not like we haven’t seen over the last five or six months these terrorists moving in, taking control of Western Iraq. … And what’s the president doing? Taking a nap!” -Boehner to reporters in 2014
5. “You might notice I have a few knuckleheads in my conference.” -Boehner speaking to the International Franchise Association in 2014 about some conservative House members (who would help force his retirement a year later)
6. Putin is a “thug” -Boehner in a 2014 interview with Jay Leno and, later, with the Cincinnati Enquirer
7. “The Bible says beware of false prophets. And there are people out there, you know, spreading noise about how much can get done.” -Boehner to CBS’s “Face the Nation” in 2015 about House conservatives’ tactics.
8. He’s a “jackass” -Boehner on Cruz at a Colorado fundraiser in 2015
9. “Go [expletive] yourself” -Boehner to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in 2013 during a private meeting about the fiscal cliff
10. “He’s Lucifer in the flesh/miserable son of a bitch” -Boehner, of course, talking about his buddy Cruz in 2016