- Former House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said that former President George W. Bush told him that House Speaker Paul Ryan should ask him for advice more often.
- Boehner and Bush remain close and have both been critical of the GOP and party leaders.
Former House Speaker John Boehner said that former President George W. Bush texted him recently to say that House Speaker Paul Ryan should seek more advice from the former Republican leader.
Boehner, now retired and living in Ohio, unloaded on conservative politicians and media personalities in a lengthy Politico Magazine profile published over the weekend.
“So I get a text from 43 about a month ago, maybe six weeks ago,” Boehner told Politico reporter Tim Alberta in between drags of a cigarette in his living room.
“So 43 says, ‘Hey, are you talking to Ryan? Are you giving him advice?’ I said, ‘Yeah, if he calls I give him advice,'” Boehner went on. “And he texts me back: ‘He needs to call you more.'”
Ryan succeeded Boehner’s nine-year tenure as House speaker in 2015 amid discord within the party. It reportedly took the speaker more than a year to convince the younger lawmaker to take the fraught position, in which Boehner ran up against the most conservative members of the party, who orchestrated the government shutdown in 2013 and went on to form the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus.
Since leaving Washington after 25 years on Capitol Hill, Boehner has openly criticised the GOP and its more conservative factions, including those loyal to President Donald Trump, whose presidency Boehner described as a “disaster” last May.
But Boehner sees himself and Bush as “two peas in the same pod” — “a pair of even-keeled gents who tried to ignore the stresses of their respective jobs and who enjoy commiserating now that they are both retired,” Alberta writes.
Illustrating their friendly relationship, the former lawmaker told Alberta that he called Bush a “pussy” when the then-president declined to join an all-male country club in Bethesda, Maryland for fear of the optics. When Bush joined the club after he left the White House, Boehner recalled telling him, “You’re still a pussy.”
Mark Abadi contributed to this post.
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