House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Thursday that he doesn’t want the debate over allowing Confederate flags on certain public lands to become a “political football.”
Minutes before Boehner’s weekly press conference, House Republicans cancelled a planned vote on an environmental appropriations bill in order to avoid debate on an amendment reversing other previously approved, Democratic amendments that restricted the display of Confederate flags on federal lands.
Boehner confirmed that the chamber would not vote on the spending bill “until we come to some resolution” on the flag issue.
“I think it’s time for some adults here in Congress to sit down and have conversation about how to address this issue,” he told reporters. “I do not want this to become some political football.”
Around the same time Boehner was speaking, one of his members pinned the blame for the Confederate flag move on the House GOP leadership. In a written statement, Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), who announced the Confederate flag move on the House floor Wednesday night, said the amendment was “brought to me by Leadership.”
“The amendment offered last night to the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill was brought to me by Leadership at the request of some southern Members of the Republican Caucus,” Calvert said in the statement.
When a reporter asked whether Boehner supported Confederate flags in federal cemeteries, the House speaker responded “no.”
Boehner was also asked to respond to Republican presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump’s much-maligned comments about immigrants crossing the border with Mexico.
“I disagree with Mr. Trump’s comments and, frankly, I think when you look at the presidential candidates, they’ve all made their positions clear,” Boehner told reporters.
He added that he considered illegal immigration to be the “biggest political football” he’d seen yet in his career.