House Speaker John Boehner condemned the Obama administration on Wednesday after a report surfaced in which an anonymous U.S. official called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a chickenshit.”
In a statement, the Ohio Republican deplored “the disrespectful rhetoric used time and again by this administration with respect to the special relationship the United States has with the state of Israel.”
“He either condones the profanity and disrespect used by the most senior members of his administration, or he does not. It is time for him to get his house in order and tell the people that can’t muster professionalism that it is time to move on,” Boehner said.
At his daily briefing, White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the anonymous quote, reported Tuesday by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg.
Earnest emphasized the “close relationship” between the U.S. and Israel and said the reported comments “do not reflect the view of the administration and we do believe that they are counterproductive.”
He also chafed when asked about Boehner’s strong rebuke of it.
“[That’s] an interesting observation by the Speaker of the House, who has a penchant for using salty language himself,” Earnest said. “It’s a little rich to have a lecture about profanity from the Speaker of the House.”
Though it’s unclear what exactly Earnest was referring to, there are a few possibilities. In October 2008, Boehner called then-candidate Barack Obama a “chickenshit” for voting “present” on numerous occasions in the Illinois state senate, according to ABC News. More recently, during fiscal cliff negotiations in late 2012, Boehner told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to “go fuck yourself,” Politico reported at the time, apparently in response to the Nevada Democrat’s public badgering of the way he was running the House.