Former House Speaker John Boehner called Sen. Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh” and said he wouldn’t vote for him if the Texas senator wins the Republican presidential nomination.
Later commenting on the remark, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) told Newsday that Cruz “gives Lucifer a bad name” and that Boehner’s characterization “shows there’s a unique dislike for Cruz.”
Boehner, speaking at a forum at Stanford University on Wednesday evening, said he would vote for GOP front-runner Donald Trump — whom he called a “texting buddy” — the Stanford Daily student newspaper reported.
Boehner, an Ohio Republican who stepped down in 2015, blames Cruz and conservative congressional members of the so-called “Freedom Caucus” — “knuckleheads” and “goofballs,” in his estimation — for a 2013 government shutdown. He especially singled out Cruz, who is widely known for his poor relationships in Congress.
“Lucifer in the flesh,” Boehner said in The Stanford Daily account. “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.”
Cruz, campaigning in Indiana, told reporters that Boehner “allowed his inner Trump” to come out. Later on Twitter, Cruz tried to turn the insult into a compliment, saying: “Tell me again who will stand up to Washington? Trump, who’s Boehner’s ‘texting and golfing buddy,’ or Carly & me?”
He was referring to Carly Fiorina, whom Cruz has said will be his running mate if he wins the nomination.
Boehner said he was “texting buddies” with the billionaire Trump and had played golf with him. He has previously described Cruz as a “jackass” and a “false prophet.” Boehner, at Stanford, reportedly said his hero, former President Ronald Reagan, “would be the most moderate Republican elected today.”
He called Sen. Bernie Sanders a nice guy and the most honest politician in the race, even if he disagrees with the Vermont senator on most issues. He also accused Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton of playing the gender card.
Impersonating Clinton, Boehner was quoted as saying: “Oh, I’m a woman, vote for me.”
King, a vociferous Cruz critic, said Boehner’s feelings are shared by many others in the House and Senate.
“Boehner is right. Nobody in Congress likes Ted Cruz and Cruz gives Lucifer a bad name,” King said in an interview. “He’s the present-day devil in Congress.”
King also blames Cruz for the 2013 shutdown, which hurt Republicans nationally.
“Cruz like to say he stands up to people. But really nobody trusts him. He’s a cheap shot artist,” King said. “Everything is a con.”