— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 28, 2016
Remember when former Speaker of the House John Boehner called Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh” and a “miserable son of a bitch”? It only happened on Wednesday, after which the quotes quickly went viral when several news outlets picked up the story from The Stanford Daily student newspaper. Boehner was speaking at an event at the famous California school Wednesday night when the moderator asked him point-blank about the Republican presidential candidate. The 24-hour news cycle being what it is, Cruz and new best pal Carly Fiorina responded to Boehner’s comments with an outright lie and a really weird claim about the former Ohio representative’s meaning.
First things first, let’s consider Cruz’s claim about the infamous government shutdown that his anti-Obamacare measures helped to implement. According to his own account of things, he reached out to then-Speaker Boehner to work things out:
“I reached out to John Boehner and I offered for Mike, Lee and me to come over and work with the speaker. ‘Can we resolve this and actually get something meaningful done to stop the disaster that is Obamacare?’ John Boehner’s response was, ‘I have no interest in talking to him. What possibly could be accomplished by having a conversation? No I will not meet.’ So when he says I’m the worst guy he’s ever worked with, he’s never worked with me.”
Cruz also told reporters gathered in Fort Wayne, Indiana that he’d only met Boehner “two or three times.” Which, in terms of actual numbers, may or may not be true, but the depth of these meetings was far greater than Cruz’s statements suggested. That’s because he worked as Boehner’s attorney during the Ohio representative’s federal lawsuit against Washington representative Jim McDermott in 1998.
Deadspin editor Timothy Burke alluded to this with a video mashup of Cruz’s comment and Boehner’s 2013 interview with then-Tonight Show host Jay Leno. However, a more detailed account of the two men’s previous professional relationship exists in a 1998 Seattle Times article, in which Cruz provided quotes about his client’s legal case:
Ted Cruz, Boehner’s attorney, said the fund-raising letter demonstrates nothing and highlights the weakness of McDermott’s defense. Boehner alleges that McDermott gave the taped phone call — which Republicans argue did not violate any promise made by Gingrich — to The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal and Roll Call, a semiweekly congressional newspaper.
“The fund-raising letter is much ado about nothing,” Cruz said. “Congressman McDermott has consistently attempted to delay the litigation and drive up the expense. It is reasonably expected that Congressman Boehner will use the means at his disposal to raise the funds to pursue this lawsuit.”
But never mind 1998 Ted Cruz’s comments about his associate at the time. It’s really 2016 Ted Cruz’s comments about his having never worked with Boehner that we should probably listen to. After all, it’s this version of Cruz who’s running for President of the United States — the same one who, after denying his past with Boehner, went on to suggest that the “Lucifer” comment was actually about the American people.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 28, 2016
No really, that’s exactly what he said:
“When John Boehner calls me Lucifer, he’s not directing that at me. He’s directing that at you. What Boehner is angry with me for is not anything I’ve ever said to him. I haven’t said much of anything to him. What Boehner is angry with me for is standing with the American people. Is energizing and encouraging House conservatives to stand with the American people, and actually honoring the commitments we make.”
So… the “Lucifer” jab was actually about the American people?
Is this election over already?