Former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) slammed the GOP “crazy caucus” and right-wing media for “making people who used to be fringe characters into powerful media stars.” Boehner singled out Sen. Ted Cruz and former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) as an example of a public figure conservative media elevated from fringe to star status. He also targeted Fox News’ Sean Hannity and the late Roger Ailes.
“Besides the homegrown ‘talent’ at Fox, with their choice of guests they were making people who used to be fringe characters into powerful media stars. One of the first prototypes out of their laboratory was a woman named Michele Bachmann,” Boehner wrote in an essay using excerpts from his upcoming book published Friday in Politico Magazine.
“Bachmann, who had represented Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District since 2007 and made a name for herself as a lunatic ever since, came to meet with me in the busy period in late 2010 after the election,” Boehner wrote.
The former House Speaker revealed that Bachmann, who came to Congress during the rise of the Tea Party, wanted a seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
“There was no way she was going to get on Ways and Means, the most prestigious committee in Congress, and jump ahead of everyone else in line,” he said. “Not while I was Speaker. In earlier days, a member of Congress in her position wouldn’t even have dared ask for something like this. Sam Rayburn would have laughed her out of the city.”
Bachmann threatened Boehner, he said, telling him if she didn’t give her what she wanted, she would unleash the forces of conservative media on him.
“Well, then I’ll just have to go talk to Sean Hannity and everybody at Fox … and Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and everybody else on the radio, and tell them that this is how John Boehner is treating the people who made it possible for the Republicans to take back the House,” Bachmann told Boehner.
“I wasn’t the one with the power, she was saying. I just thought I was. She had the power now,” he wrote. “She was right, of course.”
In separate passages from his book released on Friday, Boehner revealed he called Fox News host Sean Hannity “a nut” and asked of former President Barack Obama’s hesitation to work with Republicans at the time: “How do you find common cause with people who think you are a secret Kenyan Muslim traitor?”