John Boehner Says Obama is Responsible for Making Republicans Racist
In an interview Sunday on NBC’s Meet The Press, former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made a weird accusation — of sorts. He blames former President Barack Obama, in part, for the malignant racism that’s crept into the Republican Party, Raw Story reports.
During the interview, program host Chuck Todd noted that “white supremacist” ideas are “creeping” into the Republican Party.
“And it’s metastasized,” Todd said, referring to extremist right-wing Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). “Now they’re trying to start a caucus that’s sort of based on these racist ideas.”
“How did this happen? How did this get mainstreamed a bit in your party?” he asked Boehner.
“Well Chuck, I have no idea how this even showed up,” Boehner responded. “I wouldn’t call it mainstreamed in our party. But I can tell you this so-called America First Caucus is one of the nuttiest I’ve ever seen.”
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Boehner added that America “is a land of immigration” and urged Republicans to denounce the America First Caucus.
“I think it’s awfully cruel,” he said. “And frankly it has no place in the Republican Party.”
And I’m right here with him on that, but then he goes on to suggest Obama is at fault because meaningful immigration reform wasn’t passed while he was president.
“My biggest regret during my time as Speaker is not being able to come to an agreement with President Obama on an immigration reform bill,” Boehner said. “Our immigration system is a mess, it’s broken, from top to bottom. And it needs to be fixed so that it’s fairer for Americans that are here and fairer for those who are trying to come here.”
But that led Todd to ask if Fox News didn’t in some way contribute to the problem.
“Was it him or conservative media?” Todd fired back, reminding Boehner he had been critical of the cable news channel’s role in hampering his ability to pass bipartisan legislation.”
“So you put the blame on President Obama,” Todd said. “Isn’t it [former Fox News chief] Roger Ailes and the radicalization of what happened on sort of right-wing [television] at night that torpedoed immigration?”
“No,” Boehner said, disagreeing. “Believe me, Chuck, I wanted to get immigration reform done. President Obama wanted to get it done. But again, every time we’d get ready to move, the president would go out and give some speech or he’d loosen up some immigration regulation and just kind of set everybody on fire. And that’s not a prescription for getting things accomplished in the Congress.”
I wrote for years on the sometimes heated battles between the former president and Republicans, many of whom seemed set on disagreeing with everything he called for at the time. Immigration is one of this country’s thorniest issues and I hope both parties will work together on cohesive reform.
But knowing how the Republicans are, I’m not holding my breath.
You can watch Boehner’s interview with Todd below.