Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) on Friday recalled his relationship with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on the Senate floor shortly after the speaker announced that he would resign, noting that Boehner would be missed.
Reid said that he had many private meetings with Boehner in order to work out negotiations that “wouldn’t have worked out very well in the public eye.” Reid said that while he and Boehner often disagreed, the speaker “never, ever misled me.”
“To say that I will miss John Boehner is a tremendous understatement. I looked out for him in ways that I could, and he looked out for me in the ways that he could. I will always consider John Boehner my friend, and I look forward to working with him until he leaves,” the minority leader said.
Here are Reid’s full remarks:
I, like America, was stunned this morning to learn that John Boehner is going to resign in the next few weeks. I have had a relationship with John Boehner for a long time. His becoming Speaker, of course, made those relations much more close. I have not always agreed and I wasn’t always happy with what John told me, but he never, ever misled me. He never, ever told me something that wasn’t true and I accepted that. I got where I understood John Boehner very, very well. His word was always good.
We had a lot of dealings, so-called “back-channel” meetings. Everyone knows that a lot of things that we do are not in the public eye, and certainly some things we worked on together perhaps wouldn’t have worked out very well in the public eye, but there are things we had to do to get things done. I had a very good relationship with John Boehner. My staff got along with his staff. He’s had two chiefs of staff, and they have both been terrific to work with – my staff has reached out to them on so many occasions in very difficult times, and they had a good relationship.
I have no doubt that John Boehner was doing his best for the people of his district in Ohio and our country. He had a very difficult job. He had a very difficult job. He had this faction, that faction, that faction and a couple more. But by ousting a man like John Boehner – a good man like John Boehner – he is a conservative Republican. But his problem is that John Boehner has been pragmatic. He realizes there comes times when you have to make a deal.
I didn’t know President Eisenhower. I never met him and I never saw him. But Ronald Reagan, I was here when he was president and he had conservative credentials. Ronald Reagan was somebody who understood the art of compromise. Who else could have worked out something with the Soviet Union? I’m not sure there’s anybody. Ronald Reagan was able to do that. I’m so concerned; I am seeing the Republican Party, not the party of Dwight Eisenhower as I have studied him or the man Ronald Reagan as I knew him. I just think it’s very, very sad that the Tea Party caucus that Republicans leaders embraced to win in 2010 have now taken over control of the party.
To say that I will miss John Boehner is a tremendous understatement. I looked out for him in ways that I could, and he looked out for me in the ways that he could. I will always consider John Boehner my friend, and I look forward to working with him until he leaves. I understand it’s going to be in late October, but I will continue to work with him to try to do what I think is the right thing for the country, as I’m confident he will. And hopefully we’ll continue someplace in the middle to get things done.
I have gotten things done with John Boehner that I wasn’t happy with and he wasn’t happy with, but sometimes you do the best you can. I wish John Boehner the very best in the future. Whatever I can do to make his life more pleasant, I’ll be happy to do that. Whether it’s setting up a golf game for him in Las Vegas or helping him in some government matter, I will do whatever I can. Because John Boehner, as far as I’m concerned, is a good man, and it’s a gross understatement to say I will miss him.