Boehner Walks Back Criticism Of Trump Presidency As A ‘Complete Disaster’

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May 31, 2017 2:31 p.m.

Former House Speaker John Boehner walked back his criticism of Donald Trump’s presidency as “a complete disaster” Wednesday morning.

A week ago, Boehner told the KPMG Global Energy Conference that Trump “did what he could” to pass health care legislation.

“Everything else he’s done [in office] has been a complete disaster,” he said. “He’s still learning how to be President.”

But at another industry conference on Wednesday — this time for the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers Employee Leadership Forum — Boehner distanced himself from that criticism, according to Politico.

“Let me address this because some people have gotten carried away in their interpretation of what I said,” he said. “Listen, Donald Trump is my friend. He was my supporter. I play golf with him and frankly I like the President. I voted for him. I want him and frankly I want the country to succeed. But I’ve seen some people write — I think they’ve gotten a little carried away in their interpretation of what I said.”

“I did not say that the President’s policies were a disaster,” he said. “I did not say that the President’s agenda was a disaster. What I was referring to was the execution of the President’s agenda and the President’s policies. And frankly I think there have been a number of missteps, unforced errors that the President has made and I think the White House would agree that they’ve had their share of mistakes as the President learns to be the President.”

That is a largely muted assessment compared to Boehner’s initial take.

“I wake up every day, drink my morning coffee and say hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah,” he said at the KPMG conference, referring to his decision to leave Congress when he did.

After leaving Congress in 2015, Boehner became a strategic adviser for the lobbying giant Squire Patton Boggs and a member of Reynolds American Inc.’s board. Squire Patton Boggs represents clients who stand to gain or lose huge sums based on political decisions, from oil companies to defense contractors to health care interest groups.

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