FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Former House Speaker John Boehner unloaded on Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz during a talk to college students, calling the Texas senator “Lucifer in the flesh.”
Speaking at a town-hall-style event at Stanford University on Wednesday, Boehner called front-runner Donald Trump his “texting buddy,” but offered a more graphic response when asked about Cruz.
“Lucifer in the flesh,” the former speaker said. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
His comments were first reported by Stanford’s student newspaper.
Cruz, campaigning in Fort Wayne, Ind., Thursday ahead of the state’s May 3 primary, responded by saying Boehner was letting his “inner Trump come out” with his remarks. He attempted to turn the criticism into a slam on Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
“John Boehner in his remarks described Donald Trump as his texting and golfing buddy,” Cruz said. “So if you want someone that’s a texting and golfing buddy, if you’re happy with John Boehner as speaker of the House and you want a president like John Boehner, Donald Trump is your man.”
Both Cruz and Carly Fiorina, who was campaigning with him after he named her as his running mate Wednesday, referred to Boehner’s comments during the rally.
In 2013, Cruz joined forces with tea party conservatives in the House in triggering a partial, 16-day government shutdown over demands to undo President Obama’s health care law. There was no chance Obama would agree to such a step, and Republican leaders like Boehner saw the move as a fruitless effort that only hurt the GOP politically.
Two years later, it was the same House conservatives who challenged Boehner’s leadership, and the speaker decided to step down rather than allow a very public fight.
Boehner’s successor, House Speaker Paul Ryan, said at his weekly news conference Thursday that he has “a much better relationship than that with Senator Cruz.”
“My job is to help unify our party,” Ryan said, when reporters pressed him on Boehner’s comments. “I have a very good relationship with both of these men, and I’m going to keep it that way.”
Cruz told reporters Thursday that he had never worked with Boehner, who stepped down as speaker in the fall.
“The truth of the matter is I don’t know the man,” Cruz said. “I’ve met John Boehner two or three times in my life. If I have said 50 words in my life to John Boehner, I would be surprised. And every one of them has consisted of pleasantries, ‘Good to see you, Mr. Speaker.’ I’ve never had any substantive conversation with John Boehner in any respect.”
Cruz said he was rebuffed by Boehner when he asked to meet with him during the government shutdown.
Cruz said Boehner’s comments reflect his frustration with Americans who stand with Republicans who want to hold members of Congress accountable for their campaign promises to repeal Obama’s health care law and pursue other conservative goals.
“When John Boehner calls me Lucifer, he’s not directing that at me,” Cruz said. “He’s directing that at you.”
Sanders’ ad-making consultants see big payday
WASHINGTON — The small-dollar fund-raising juggernaut that has kept Bernie Sanders’ insurgent White House bid afloat far longer than anticipated has generated another unexpected effect: a financial windfall for his team of Washington consultants.
By the end of March, the self-described democratic socialist senator from Vermont had spent nearly $166 million on his campaign — more than any other 2016 presidential contender, including rival Hillary Clinton. More than $91 million went to a small group of ad makers and media buyers who produced a swarm of commercials and placed them on television, radio, and the Internet, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission reports.
While the vast majority of that money was passed along to television stations and websites to pay for the advertising, millions of dollars in fees were kept by the companies, The Post calculated. While it is impossible to determine precisely how much the top consultants have earned, FEC filings indicate the top three media firms have reaped seven-figure payments.
Sanders’s money blitz, fueled by a $27 average donation that he repeatedly touts, has improbably made the antibillionaire populist the biggest spender so far in the election cycle.
Jenner takes Trump’s offer to use preferred bathroom
NEW YORK — Caitlyn Jenner has taken up Donald Trump’s offer and used the women’s restroom at one of his luxury buildings.
The Republican presidential candidate said last week he believes transgender people should be able to use whichever bathroom they choose. Trump said North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom law,” which directs transgender people to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificates, has caused unnecessary strife.
Trump said if Jenner — who won an Olympic gold medal as Bruce Jenner —, who is transgender, were to walk into Trump Tower, she could use whichever bathroom she wanted. Instead, Jenner used the women’s room — without incident — at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Manhattan.
She posted a video titled “Bathroom Break” on her Facebook page.