Former House Speaker John Boehner called Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh,” in a withering interview at Stanford University published Thursday.
The account in the student newspaper is accurate, a source close to Boehner confirmed Thursday.
Cruz tweeted a response Thursday morning: “Tell me again who will stand up to Washington? Trump, who’s Boehner’s “texting and golfing buddy,” or Carly & me?”
Tell me again who will stand up to Washington? Trump, who’s Boehner’s “texting and golfing buddy,” or Carly & me? https://t.co/qvYPSaTEV7
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 28, 2016
He later told reporters Boehner “allowed his inner Trump to come out.”
“The interesting thing is I’ve never worked with John Boehner, I don’t know the man,” Cruz said. “Indeed, during the government shut down, I reached out to John Boehner, and work with get something meaningful done, he said, ‘I have no interested in talking to you.’ ”
Boehner and Cruz clashed over the government shutdown and Obamacare fights from the time Cruz took his Senate seat in 2013 to when Boehner stepped down last fall.
Cruz continued: “When John Boehner calls me Lucifer, he is directing it at you. What Boehner is angry at me is standing with the American people.”
Boehner’s relationship with Cruz pre-dates their time in Congress together. Cruz was hired as part of Boehner’s legal team, after he sued a Democratic congressman, Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington state, for breaking wiretapping laws back in 1998.
The Ohio congressman was caught on a telephone phone call talking to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich about ethics allegations against the speaker, and McDermott released the tape to the press. After years of litigation of arguing the release of the call by McDermott was unlawful, Boehner prevailed in the case.
“If we don’t have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I’m for none of the above,” Boehner said at the Futures Industry Association conference. “They all had a chance to win. None of them won. So I’m for none of the above. I’m for Paul Ryan to be our nominee.”