“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace on Sunday quizzed House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on his decision to invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress.
Boehner invited Netanyahu without consulting the White House, leading numerous congressional Democrats to boycott the speech.
“Haven’t you taken one of the few bipartisan issues in this country — support for Israel — and turned it into a political football?” Wallace asked.
“I have not. The fact is that we had every right to do what we did,” Boehner responded. “I wanted the prime minister to come here. There’s a serious threat facing the world. And radical Islamic terrorists are not going to go away.”
“And then when it comes to the threat of Iran having a nuclear weapon, these are important messages that the Congress needs to here and the American people need to hear,” the speaker continued. “And I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu is the perfect person to deliver the message of how serious this threat is.”
Wallace then pointed out that Boehner asked Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., not to tell the White House about the joint meeting with Netanyahu.
“Why would you do that?” Wallace asked.
“Because I wanted to make sure that there was no interference. There’s no secret here in Washington about the animosity that this White House has for Prime Minister Netanyahu. I frankly didn’t want that getting in the way, quashing what I thought was a real opportunity,” Boehner responded.
Wallace challenged Boehner, commenting that the invitation created controversy.
“Shouldn’t the relationship between the U.S. and Israel be outside of politics?” he asked.
“It’s an important message that the American people need to hear. I’m glad that he’s coming, and I’m looking forward to what he has to say,” Boehner responded.