There’s nothing that partisan journalists love more than when a former Republican officeholder bashes his own party. So the hosts at CBS This Morning on Monday were thrilled to hype ex-Speaker of the House John Boehner’s new book smearing members of the GOP as “political terrorists,” “jackasses,” and “dark forces” within the party.
The journalists could barely contain their excitement as they teased the segment. Co-host Anthony Mason opened the program by cheering, “Former Speaker John Boehner says there are political terrorists in his own party who build nothing and divide the country.”
A few minutes later, he hyped, “Ahead we'll talk to former Speaker John Boehner who warns of a real danger to the country from dark forces inside his own party.” The journalists were so psyched, they played clips from the audio book. Here’s Boehner:
By 2013 the chaos caucus in the House had built up their own power base thanks to a right-wing media and outrage-driven fundraising. And now they had a new lunatic leading the way who wasn't even a House member. There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless [bleep] who thinks he's smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Ted Cruz.
If Boehner needs some quotes for the paperback release, co-host Tony Dokoupil practically blurbed the book: “I would recommend this book in just about any form. But as you can hear, the audio book is a particularly special experience. This is not just another Washington memoir.”
There were no tough questions unless you count asking Boehner if he’ll leave the Republican Party:
You say in the book you say that in today’s GOP “there are Trump Republicans and traditional Republicans.” But the Trump Republicans are clearly in control of the party right now. And I'm wondering if you still feel at home in the Republican Party?
CBS on Monday devoted nine minutes over two segments to the former Speaker. The day before, CBS Sunday Morning added an additional 8 minutes and 26 seconds. There, John Dickerson delighted in Boehner trashing other Republicans: “[Partisans] are a poison, Boehner says, affecting both parties, but it is further along in his own. You call some of these members political terrorists.”
Boehner responded, “Oh, yeah, Jim Jordan especially, my colleague from Ohio. I just never saw a guy who spent more time tearing things apart and never building anything. Never putting anything together.”
A transcript of Monday’s questions can be found below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
7 AM tease
ANTHONY MASON: Former Speaker John Boehner says there are political terrorists in his own party who build nothing and divide the country. He talks to us about what to do after the assault on the capitol.
7:17 AM ET tease
MASON: Ahead we'll talk to former Speaker John Boehner who warns of a real danger to the country from dark forces inside his own party. How he sees the threat after January 6, and what to do about it.
8:04:52 to 8:06:50
TONY DOKOUPIL: Former Speaker of the House John Boehner retired from public office nearly six years ago, but in his book On the house: A Washington Memoir, Boehner takes his party to task. His book traces his rise from his early life to becoming one of the most powerful figures in government. And he takes aim at his Republican former colleagues as you can hear in these excerpts from the audio book.
JOHN BOEHNER: I don't think Ronald Reagan would recognize the Republican Party today. And he sure as hell couldn't get elected in it. As a matter of fact, Reagan would be the most left-wing candidate in the GOP these days by a mile. I was living in crazy town. When I took the Speaker’s gavel in 2011, two years into the Obama presidency, I became its mayor. Crazy town was populated by jackasses and media hounds and some normal citizens as baffled as I was about how we got trapped inside the city walls. Under the new rules of crazy town, I may have been Speaker, but I didn't hold all the power. By 2013 the chaos caucus in the House had built up their own power base thanks to a right-wing media and outrage-driven fundraising. And now they had a new lunatic leading the way who wasn't even a House member. There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless [ bleep ] Who thinks he's smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Ted Cruz. Trump incited the bloody insurrection for nothing more than selfish reasons. Perpetuated by the [bleep] Since he lost the fair election the previous November. The legislative terrorism that I'd witnessed as speaker had now encouraged actual terrorism. And it pissed me off.
DOKOUPIL: I would recommend this book in just about any form. But as you can hear, the audio book is a particularly special experience. This is not just another Washington memoir. And former Speaker Boehner is standing by to join us in a moment. There he is.
8:13:19 to 8:20:26
GAYLE KING: Former Republican house speaker John Boehner is making big waves with his new book called On the House: A Washington Memoir. He takes on many members of his own party. Former Speaker Boehner joins us now. Good morning to you, Mr. Speaker. It's good to see you with the blue eyes. You tell a great story in the book. You tell a great story about Colonel Gadhafi giving you sunglasses because he -- in the desert because he said the desert is not kind to blue eyes. We really wanted to see your eyes this morning because some of your stuff is jaw dropping. So let's get to it. We should acknowledge that you take aim at Republicans, you take aim at Democrats. You also take aim at yourself with this: "A lot has changed in Washington," you say, but you have not, you are still the same jackass that you were 25 years ago.” That's how you start. Now you seem to be calling out fellow beeps. So I'm wondering what you're hoping to accomplish with your book? Let's start with that.
BOEHNER: That’s why I zeroed in on him [Ted Cruz], probably the only person that I did, probably the only person in the book, the way I did. As I say in the book, “There’s nothing worse than a reckless jackass who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else.
KING: Yeah, You say he’s one of the guys who knows all of the answers and we all know someone like that.
BOEHNER: We sure do.
MASON: You say in the book you say that in today’s GOP “there are Trump Republicans and traditional Republicans.” But the Trump Republicans are clearly in control of the party right now. And I'm wondering if you still feel at home in the Republican Party?
DOKOUPIL: Well, Mr. Speaker, let me get to that point in particular. In the book you do a clear job of explaining how technology changed and that allows politicians to go straight to the public. But you don't really take on the subject of why that outrage and that fight for fight's sake resonated with so many people. I mean, one theory of it is that for half the country, America is just changing too quickly for them to tolerate it. Is that how you see it?
BOEHNER: Well, I don’t get into why the crazies are the crazies.
KING: Yeah. You know, you talk a lot about the lack of diversity in the party. You hit on that, but you talk about the lack of disrespect [sic]. In particular you say about Nancy Pelosi, “I don't agree with much of what she says, but I do respect her. That seems to be what's missing today. There doesn't seem to be respect and there doesn’t seem tolerance on either side. You say there's a difference between common ground and compromise. So how do we get things back on track? Because it is so off in the ditch on both sides of the aisle really when you look at it.
BOEHNER: Well, Gayle --
KING: The Republicans seem to have a special -- a special ledge on this particular topic, though. Go ahead.
MASON: Over the weekend, Mr. Speaker, former president trump called Mitch McConnell a dumb S.O.B. Reportedly, for accepting the election results. What do you think -- what do you think rhetoric like that does to the Republican Party?
BOEHNER: Well, I think rhetoric that inflames people is wrong.
KING: All right. You watch golf over the weekend? What do you think about the results? Happy?