George W. Bush said failing to pass immigration reform was one of the ‘biggest disappointments’ of his presidency

laura bush
  • In a rare interview, former President George W. Bush said he was disappointed he never passed immigration reform.
  • Bush also said that Congress wasn’t “doing its job” to pass reform.
  • Former House Speaker John Boehner made similar comments about immigration Sunday.
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Former President George W. Bush said Sunday that failing to pass substantial immigration reform during his eight years in office was one of the biggest disappointments of his presidency.

Bush, president from 2001 to 2009, spoke in a rare interview with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell that aired Sunday.

“It’s been 15 years,” O’Donnell said, pointing toward the time that has passed between the present and Bush’s 2006 Oval Office address, where he called for a “middle ground” approach to immigration reform.

“Still, nothing’s been done,” she added.

“No, a lot of executive orders but all that means is Congress isn’t doing its job,” Bush said.

Read more: Imagine a 20-car motorcade taking you to dinner. That’s the White House bubble Joe Biden now finds himself living in.

O’Donnell asked the former president whether failing to pass immigration reform was one of the “biggest disappointments” of his presidency.

“Yes, it is,” Bush responded. “I campaigned on immigration reform. I made it abundantly clear to voters this is something I intended to do.”

“The problem with the immigration debate is that it – one can create a lot of fear,” he added. “‘They’re coming after you.’ It’s a nation that is willing to accept the refugee or the harmed or the frightened, to me is a great nation. And we are a great nation.”

Bush said Sunday he supported a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently residing in the US, so long as they pay back taxes and can pass a background check. He told O’Donnell he would support such a plan if it were proposed by President Joe Biden, even if other members of the Republican Party opposed it.

Bush also Sunday explained why he rarely appears in media – a direct contrast to former President Donald Trump who left office this year and frequently releases political statements through his office after he was banned from most social media platforms earlier this year.

“I feel a responsibility to uphold the dignity of the office,” Bush said. “I did then, and I do now. And I think it’s undignified to want to see my name in print all the time. I think it basically sends a signal that I miss being famous and, you know, I want people to see me. Listen to me! And, you know, I don’t. I really don’t.”

Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner, who served under former President Barack Obama from 2011 until his retirement in 2015, made similar comments about immigration during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, calling his failure to pass such reform his “second greatest regret.”

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John Boehner: The ‘so-called America First Caucus’ is ‘one of the nuttiest things I’ve ever seen’

John Boehner
Former House Speaker John Boehner.

  • Boehner slammed the effort by a group of House Republicans to create an “America First Caucus.”
  • On NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Boehner called the idea one of the “nuttiest” things he has witnessed.
  • “We ought to celebrate the fact that we are this giant melting pot,” he said.
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Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday derided the plan that several House Republicans had to form an “America First Caucus,” calling it one of the “nuttiest” things he has witnessed.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Boehner, who served as speaker from 2011 to 2015, laced into the group.

“I can tell you that this so-called America First Caucus is one of the nuttiest things I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Punchbowl News on Friday reported that conservative GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona were building a Republican caucus centered on “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” that would, among other issues, oppose “mass immigration” and coronavirus-related lockdowns.

On Saturday, Greene said that she would not be spearheading an “America First Caucus,” adding that she had not read the document that Punchbowl News released the day before.

Read more: Visa’s PAC gave politicians $139,000 in March after vowing to pause contributions because of the Capitol insurrection

Boehner criticized the worldview of those who conceived of such a caucus.

“I have no idea how this even showed up,” he emphasized. “America is a land of immigration. We’ve been the world’s giant melting pot for 250 years. And we ought to celebrate the fact that we are this giant melting pot.

He added: “To see some members of Congress go off and start this America First Caucus is – it’s the silliest thing I’ve ever seen. And Republicans need to denounce it.”

GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California reprimanded the effort through Twitter on Friday.

“America is built on the idea that we are all created equal and success is earned through honest, hard work,” he wrote. “It isn’t built on identity, race, or religion. The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunity for all Americans – not nativist dog whistles.”

Later in his interview, Boehner expressed regret for not reaching a deal on immigration reform with former President Barack Obama.

“Our immigration system is a mess,” he said. “It’s broken from top to bottom. And it needs to be fixed so that it’s fairer for Americans who are here and fairer for those who are trying to come here.”

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Boehner said the Capitol riot was ‘one of the saddest days’ of his life and he would rather set himself ‘on fire than run for office again’

john boehner
Former House Speaker John Boehner attends a ceremony to unveil a portrait of himself on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 in Washington.

  • Former House Speaker John Boehner dismissed the idea of running for office in the future.
  • “I’d rather set myself on fire than to run for office again,” Hoehner said on “Meet the Press” Sunday.
  • Boehner also recalled the Jan. 6 insurrection calling it “one of the saddest days in my life.”
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Former Republican US House Speaker John Boehner said he would rather set himself on fire than run for office again in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“I’d rather set myself on fire than to run for office again,” Boehner of Ohio replied to show moderator Chuck Todd.

In response, Todd said that he asked Boehner that question “because I expected an answer just like that.”

“You’re a sh-t,” Boehner chuckled.

Boehner, who was speaker between 2011 and 2015, has been promoting his new book “On The House: A Washington Memoir.” After an excerpt was published by Politico, it was met with backlash from Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who was called a “reckless asshole” in the book, as Insider previously reported.

Boehner, who voted for former President Donald Trump for re-election in 2020, said he was “disappointed” with what followed. Trump repeatedly pushed baseless claims that the presidential election was rigged and that he won over President Joe Biden, ultimately resulting in an angry mob storming the US Capitol building.

“I was disappointed at what happened after the election. I kept looking for evidence of a stolen election like most Americans did. Where’s the evidence? How can he keep saying something without providing any proof? And there wasn’t any,” Boehner said on “Meet the Press,” calling the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection “one of the saddest days in my life.”

When asked by Todd about Trump, Boehner added that he has “no interest” in the former president’s actions.

“I’m trying to make sure that Republicans understand as a Republican party we need to go back to the principles of what it means to be Republican. Things like fiscal responsibility, things like a strong national defense, things that hold Republicans and the Republican party together and have for the 150 years. Let’s go back to being Republicans,” he said.

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Ted Cruz put a signed copy of John Boehner’s book in the fireplace after ‘some smart-a–‘ dropped it off in his office

John Boehner condemns Sen. Ted Cruz on CBS News.
John Boehner condemns Sen. Ted Cruz on CBS News.

  • John Boehner has been skewering Ted Cruz in publicity for his forthcoming memoir.
  • The Texas lawmaker got his revenge after a signed copy of the book was left in his office on Tuesday.
  • He tweeted a photo of Boehner’s memoir in the fireplace; its “appropriate place” according to Cruz.
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Sen. Ted Cruz apparently didn’t take too kindly to being called a “reckless a–hole” in former Speaker of the House John Boehner’s forthcoming book and the Texas lawmaker made his displeasure public by offering Boehner some sarcastic publicity on Tuesday.

Boehner has been making headlines in recent weeks after an excerpt of his new book, “On the House: A Washington Memoir” was published in Politico earlier this month.

He first skewered Cruz in the released excerpt, calling him a “reckless a–hole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else,” and “a lunatic” who “enlisted the crazy caucus of the GOP.” Then a week later, Boehner doubled down on his Cruz criticism, telling CBS News he singled out Cruz because he had amplified divisions within the Republican House caucus.

To top it all off, Boehner added an unscripted, “PS, Ted Cruz, go f— yourself” in the audiobook recording of the memoir.

But in a Tuesday tweet, Cruz responded to Boehner’s ongoing smears with an incendiary reply.

“Some smart-ass dropped off a copy of Boehner’s new book at my office,” Cruz tweeted. “It’s even signed!”

Accompanying the tweet were three photos: One of Boehner’s book sitting on a table in Cruz’s office; a second of the book’s title page, signed by Boehner himself; and a third of the book propped up in the fireplace – in it’s “appropriate place,” according to Cruz.

Cruz had previously responded to Boehner’s criticism last week, when the Texas lawmaker tweeted he wore Boehner’s “drunken, bloviated scorn” “with pride.”

This isn’t the first time Boehner, who served as speaker from 2011 to 2015, has taken aim at Cruz. Since leaving office, the Ohio Republican has called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh” and told an audience that he’s “never worked with a more miserable son of a b—- in my life.”

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John Boehner reveals he voted for Trump despite attacking him for spreading lies about the election

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) answers reporters questions during his weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitors Center at the U.S. Capitol December 5, 2013.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) answers reporters questions during his weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitors Center at the U.S. Capitol December 5, 2013.

  • Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner has been making headlines for attacking the “crazies” and “political terrorists” in his own party.
  • While Boehner says Trump is a leader and product of this “chaos,” the former Ohio lawmaker voted for four more years of him.
  • “I thought that his policies, by and large, mirrored the policies that I believed in,” Boehner told Time of Trump.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner has been making headlines recently for skewering the right wing of his own party in his newly-released memoir.

Boehner argues in “On the House: A Washington Memoir” that the GOP is full of “crazies” and “political terrorists” more intent on “making noise” than legislating. He counts former President Donald Trump as a leader and product of that “chaos.” But the former Ohio lawmaker revealed this week that, despite all that, he cast his 2020 ballot for Trump.

“Donald Trump is a product of the chaos we’ve seen in our political process over the last 10 or 12 years,” he told Time in an interview published Tuesday.

But, he added, “I thought that his policies, by and large, mirrored the policies that I believed in.”

Boehner went on, “I thought the choices for the Supreme Court were top notch. At the end of the day, who gets nominated to the federal courts is really the most important thing a president does.”

Both in his book and during a series of interviews, Boehner has strongly condemned Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, which the former president and many of his allies falsely claim was rife with voter fraud and “rigged” by Democrats. And he pointed out that Trump claimed even before the November election that he could only lose reelection if the results were fraudulent.

“I watched before the election hearing the president talk about how the election was going to be stolen from him,” Boehner told The View on Monday. “Unfortunately, I never saw any facts and I don’t think the American people ever saw any facts. And the saddest part of this, beyond the fact that the riot did occur at the Capitol, is that the president abused the loyalty and the trust that voters had placed in him by perpetuating this noise.”

He added, “It was really one of the sadder things I’ve seen in the last 40 years in politics.”

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John Boehner calls Trump ‘a guy who’s unemployed’ and ‘has nothing else to do but cause trouble’

John Boehner
Former House Speaker John Boehner.

  • During an interview on ABC’s “The View,” John Boehner called out Trump’s post-presidential behavior.
  • “Here’s a guy who’s unemployed, has nothing else to do but cause trouble,” he said.
  • Boehner expressed disappointment that Trump has misled his supporters about the election results.
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Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio on Monday blasted former President Donald Trump as an “unemployed” individual who is out to “cause trouble” after losing his reelection bid last year.

During an appearance on ABC’s “The View,” Boehner, who is promoting his forthcoming book, “On the House: A Washington Memoir,” was asked by co-host Sara Haines when the GOP would have a “wake-up call” regarding the former president’s continued false claims that he won the 2020 presidential election.

At the Republican National Committee’s donor summit in Florida last weekend, Trump reportedly repeated the claim that the election was “stolen” from him.

“Here’s a guy who’s unemployed, has nothing else to do but cause trouble,” Boehner said. “Clearly, it’s obvious to me that he’s not going away.”

After the November general election and even after President Joe Biden was officially declared the winner, the Trump campaign unsuccessfully sought to overturn the election results in a range of swing states.

Read more: Introducing Todd Young, the most important senator you’ve never heard of

Boehner criticized Trump for continuing to push the false narrative that voter fraud cost him the election – even in the aftermath of the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot prompted by his repeated lies.

“The president abused the loyalty and the trust that voters had placed in him by perpetuating this noise,” he said. “It was really one of the sadder things I’ve seen in the last 40 years in politics.”

When Haines asked Boehner why current Republican officeholders couldn’t be straightforward with Americans about Trump’s rhetoric, the former speaker didn’t have a clear answer.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m not in the political world these days. I try to, frankly, stay as far away from it as I can.”

However, Boehner stressed that the party needed to return to its core principles.

“I think what Republicans need to do is act like Republicans,” he said. “I’m a conservative Republican, but I’m not crazy. I believe in fiscal responsibility and a strong national defense. We need to rally the party around what being a Republican means.”

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John Boehner said he skewered Ted Cruz in his book because Cruz was ‘stirring up some of the crazies in my own caucus’

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Former Speaker of the House John Boehner at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration in 2017.

  • Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner doubled down on his criticism of Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday.
  • Boehner said he “zeroed in” on Cruz because the senator was “stirring up some of the crazies in my own caucus.”
  • The former speaker even added in the audiobook of his memoir: “PS, Ted Cruz, go f— yourself.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner doubled down on his criticism of Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, on Monday.

Boehner told CBS News that he singled Cruz out, calling him “dangerous” and a “reckless a–hole,” in his forthcoming book, “On the House: A Washington Memoir,” because Cruz had amplified divisions within the GOP House caucus.

“This guy wasn’t even a member of the United States House of Representatives, he was a member of the Senate, stirring up some of the crazies in my own caucus to cause all kinds of problems,” Boehner said of Cruz during a Monday morning interview. “And that’s probably why I zeroed in on him – probably the only person in this book – in the way that I did.”

He added, “As I say in the book, there’s nothing worse than a reckless jackass who thinks he’s smarter than everybody else.”

Boehner writes that Cruz was the “head lunatic” leading “the chaos caucus in the House” of Tea Party members and right-wingers more focused on appearing on right-wing media and escalating “outrage” news cycles to drive campaign donations than passing legislation in Washington. In the audiobook of his memoir, Boehner added an unscripted, “PS, Ted Cruz, go f— yourself.”

In a tweet responding to Boehner’s criticism last week, Cruz called the former Speaker “the Swamp” and said he’s proud to receive his “drunken, bloviated scorn.”

The Ohio Republican, who’s also a sharp critic of former President Donald Trump, paints himself as an establishment Republican looking to find common ground with Democrats and get things done on policy. He criticizes multiple high-profile right-wing lawmakers, calling Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio a “political terrorist” and former Rep. Michele Bachmann a “lunatic.”

But Boehner, who served as speaker from 2011-2015, was overpowered by more right-wing forces in his party and is now out of step with a voter base that remains deeply loyal to Trump and more focused on culture wars than policy change.

Boehner has repeatedly taken aim at Cruz since leaving office. In 2016, he called the senator “Lucifer in the flesh” and told an audience that he’d “never worked with a more miserable son of a b—- in my life.”

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John Boehner says that Mitch McConnell ‘holds his feelings, thoughts, and emotions in a lockbox’

McConnell Boehner
Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, left, and then-House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio stand together at a ceremony on Capitol Hill on February 13, 2015.

  • John Boehner made some revealing statements about his former GOP counterpart, Mitch McConnell.
  • Boehner said that “bystanders are struck silent” when McConnell shows visible feelings or emotions.
  • In a USA Today interview, the former speaker’s penchant for tears was still evident.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When former GOP House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio served in leadership, he often worked with his Senate counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Both men were from the same political party and even hailed from adjoining states – Boehner was a conservative Midwestern Republican, while McConnell the face of the South’s dominant influence within the party.

However, while promoting his new memoir, “On the House: A Washington Memoir,” Boehner made some revealing observations about McConnell.

During an interview with USA Today, the former speaker highlighted McConnell’s intellect and penchant to play the long game, which the minority leader wholly adhered to when installing conservative jurists to the federal bench.

Boehner also said that the Kentucky Republican “holds his feelings, thoughts, and emotions in a lockbox closed so tightly that whenever one of them seeps out, bystanders are struck silent.”

For Boehner, a jovial, backslapping politician who still smokes Camel cigarettes and is known to publicly cry during emotional moments, McConnell’s steely and to-the-point demeanor is quite a contrast.

Even in retirement, Boehner’s sentimental side has not dissipated.

When the former speaker was asked what makes him cry, he was prepared with a response.

“I can get a little teary-eyed,” he said. “Over what? There’s a pretty long list.”

He spoke up a treasured television advertisement for the US Golf Association.

“They had some kid playing by himself, gets a hole-in-one and he’s all upset because there’s nobody there to see it,” he said. “Except the greens superintendent saw it!”

When Boehner began to think about how someone actually did see the young man’s brilliant golf shot, it was enough to set him over the edge.

He had to take out a handkerchief to wipe his eyes.

Boehner’s memoir is set to be released on April 13.

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Harry Reid on former House Speaker John Boehner: ‘I did everything I could to cause him trouble’ but we ‘got a lot done’

John Boehner Harry Reid
Then-House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, speaks with then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada on Capitol Hill on December 10, 2014.

  • Former Sen. Harry Reid on Saturday responded to his inclusion in John Boehner’s new memoir.
  • CNN host Jim Acosta made reference to an incident where Boehner cursed Reid out at the White House.
  • Reid recounted that he worked “well” with Boehner and called the former speaker “a great patriot.”
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When former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada was asked on Saturday about a now-infamous confrontation with former GOP House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio at the White House in 2013, he seemed to express a sense of nostalgia.

During a CNN interview, host Jim Acosta made reference to Boehner’s new memoir, “On the House: A Washington Memoir,” where the former speaker recounted that Reid called the House a “dictatorship of the Speaker” during a challenging set of fiscal-cliff negotiations at the White House during then-President Barack Obama’s tenure.

In the memoir, Boehner expressed how infuriated he was with the comment.

“If I were a dictator, do you think I’d let all these members get away with screwing me over all the time?,” he wrote. “Hell no! And Reid, who was a ruthless bastard, knew exactly what I was doing.”

He continued: “So when I saw him at the White House the next day, talking quietly with Mitch McConnell before the meeting, I went over, got in Reid’s face, and said, ‘Do you even listen to all of the s— that comes out of your mouth?’ You can go f— yourself.”

Read more: Introducing Todd Young, the most important senator you’ve never heard of

When asked for a response by Acosta, Reid said that he “got along well” with the former speaker.

“The deal is this – John Boehner and I got a lot done, but we didn’t mince words,” he said. “He was right. I did everything I could to cause him trouble because I knew he was having a lot of trouble. The more trouble he had in his caucus, the better it was for us, and he knew what I was doing, and I wasn’t at all surprised that he came to me and gave me one of his underhanded blessings.”

Reid, who served in the Senate from 1987 to 2017, also gave an interesting tidbit on why he always conducted business with Boehner in the former speaker’s office.

“We had a deal,” he said. “He would not come to my office. I would always go to his office. I didn’t want anybody smoking in my office, so all of our meetings were in his office. He could smoke to his heart’s content.”

He added: “I have a lot of respect for John Boehner. He, as far as I’m concerned, was a great patriot.”

Boehner’s memoir, where he criticizes leading Republican figures including former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, is set to be released on April 13.

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Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner says he doesn’t think Ronald Reagan could get elected in today’s Republican Party

john boehner
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH, speaks following the weekly House Republican Conference meeting as House Majority Leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy,R-CA, looks on at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, October 7, 2015.

  • John Boehner said he doesn’t think he could get elected in today’s GOP, the Washington Post reported.
  • “I don’t think Ronald Reagan could either,” Boehner wrote in his new book.
  • The former House speaker’s tell-all memoir is set to be released Tuesday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former House Speaker John Boehner wrote in his new memoir that the Republican Party has taken a stark turn since his time in politics, according to an excerpt reported by the Washington Post on Friday.

“I don’t even think I could get elected in today’s Republican Party anyway,” Boehner wrote. “I don’t think Ronald Reagan could either.”

Boehner, who represented Ohio’s 8th Congressional district from 1991 to 2015, is set to release a tell-all memoir of his life on the hill, titled “On the House: A Washington Memoir,” on Tuesday.

Boehner served as the speaker of the House from 2011 until 2015, when he resigned from the role after facing opposition from within the GOP.

Read more: Introducing Todd Young, the most important senator you’ve never heard of

Excerpts of the book that have been released reveal harsh words for former President Donald Trump, the de facto leader of the party Boehner was once a leader in himself.

About the Capitol riot on January 6, Boehner wrote Trump “incited that bloody insurrection for nothing more than selfish reasons, perpetuated by the bullshit he’d been shoveling since he lost a fair election the previous November,” according to an excerpt obtained by the New York Times.

Boehner said watching the Capitol siege was “scary, and sad.”

“It should have been a wake-up call for a return to Republican sanity,” he wrote. “Whatever they end up doing, or not doing, none of it will compare to one of the lowest points of American democracy that we lived through in January 2021.”

Boehner also had exceptionally harsh words for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another influential figure in today’s GOP.

In an excerpt of the book that was reported by Politico, Boehner wrote: “And now they had a new head lunatic leading the way, who wasn’t even a House member. There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless a–hole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz.”

Axios reported Boehner also went off-script at one point when recording the audio version of his memoir, adding: “Oh, and Ted Cruz, go f— yourself.”

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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