Brian Williams, now demoted to breaking news anchor for MSNBC, on Friday lamented that John Boehner had to “put up” with the Tea Party as Speaker of the House. His colleague Chris Matthews cheered, “Everybody likes John Boehner. I can tell you the media like him.”
Talking to NBC political editor Mark Murray about the Speaker's resignation from his position and Congress, Williams blurted, “Talk about what John Boehner has had to put up with that is unique to his Speakership. I guess I'm mostly thinking of the Tea Party revolution.”
According to MSNBC's Luke Russert, Boehner “views the harm to the institution as being so great from having these scuffles with conservatives over something as mundane as funding the government.”
Transcripts of the exchanges:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I think he feels he’s coming out with dignity. Everybody likes John Boehner. I can tell you the media like him. He's a very human person. He’s very transparent in his emotions, perhaps more so than we’re used to in American life to see a man like him crying so much. But we know what he’s thinking and what he’s feeling. And obviously there's a timing thing here. Why did he announce it the day after the Pope left, as Mark said? Because this was his crowning achievement, to big the body together as a body.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Mark Murray, who covers politics for MSNBC and NBC News also with us. Mark, talk about what John Boehner has had to put up with that is unique to his Speakership. I guess I’m mostly thinking of the Tea Party revolution.
MARK MURRAY: And Brian, his problem has been boiled down to this: math. And whether it was at the beginning of his Speakership or now, there has always been a band of House Republican conservatives, either 20 or 30, maybe now even 40 or 50 who have been against him every step of the way, almost no matter what he does unless it is almost, kind of 100 percent purity on the Republican side. And that's made it very difficult to govern because if you're losing some 20 or 30 house Republicans on a vote, that means that John Boehner, to be able to hit that magic 217, 218 votes to pass anything through the House needs to have Democratic votes.
LUKE RUSSERT: More so than anything, Brian, Boehner is an institutionalist. And from what I'm told from aides, and you read the statement on air, but it goes beyond that is that he views the harm to the institution as being so great from having these scuffles with conservatives over something as mundane as funding the government.