Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that former President Donald Trump “abused the loyalty and trust” placed in him by his voters when he pushed falsehoods about the 2020 election.
“I just kept waiting for evidence to show up. The President was out there every day talking about the election being stolen. They’re filing lawsuits, I’m waiting for the evidence,” Boehner told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.” “And sadly, no evidence ever showed up. And I think the President abused the loyalty and trust that his voters have placed in him by not being honest with the American people about the outcome.”
But Boehner declined to comment when pressed by Tapper on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy having also pushed falsehoods about the election, saying the California Republican is “responsible for what he’s got to say.”
The comments from Boehner come the same day that the Ohio Republican released his new book, “On the House: A Washington Memoir.” In it, the former speaker offers his take on the Republican Party in the age of Trump, writing that the party is now under total control of the former President and that he’s not sure he still belongs in its current iteration.
“I was out of office when Donald Trump was inaugurated as our nation’s 45th president. That was fine by me because I’m not sure I belonged to the Republican Party he created,” Boehner wrote.
But Boehner, who resigned as House speaker in late 2015 amid clashes with the growing conservative caucus of the Republican Party, voted for Trump in the 2020 election. He told Time Magazine he “thought that (Trump’s) policies, by and large, mirrored the policies that I believed in.”
Asked by Tapper if he would vote for Trump again in 2024 should the former President run, Boehner demurred but said he hoped it wouldn’t be a choice.
Since leaving Congress, Boehner has on occasion publicly voiced disillusionment with the GOP under Trump’s influence, saying in 2018, “There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump Party.”
Trump, meanwhile, continues to exert significant pressure on the direction of the current Republican Party, which overwhelmingly voted to acquit him in this year’s impeachment trial for his role in inciting the deadly January 6 insurrection. The former President still enjoys popularity within the GOP, having met with several leading Republicans since leaving office, teasing another White House bid in 2024 and positioning himself as the party’s kingmaker in the 2022 midterm elections.
Boehner said in the new book that in the early days of his presidency, Trump would call him for “advice or conversation,” but that the calls eventually slowed down, owing the change to the type of advice he was offering the then-President.
“I was never afraid to tell him when I thought he got it wrong, and give him encouragement when he got it right. But the calls came in less and less as his tenure went on. That’s probably because he got more comfortable in the job. But I also suspect he just got tired of me advising him to shut up,” he wrote.
The former speaker also directly blames Trump for the US Capitol riot, writing in his book that his “refusal to accept the result of the election not only cost Republicans the Senate but led to mob violence.”
Trump “incited that bloody insurrection for nothing more than selfish reasons, perpetuated by the bullshit he’d been shoveling since he lost a fair election the previous November,” Boehner wrote.
This story has been updated with additional details Tuesday.