In his most forceful language yet against GOP detractors, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that he dislikes being described as “spineless or a squish” by conservative Republicans, but that the label that stings him the most is when he’s called a part of the “establishment.”
“I am the most anti-Establishment Speaker we have ever had” he told NBC News at his first solo press conference of the new Congress. “Who was the guy who got rid of earmarks? Me. Who’s the guy who believes in regular order? Me. Who believes in allowing more members to participate in the process, from both sides of the aisle? Me.”
Boehner, who suffered 25 defections from his own party in his successful re-election bid for House Speaker earlier this week, said that he knows that conservatives who believe he’s too solicitous to the White House are apt to label him as “spineless” or a “squish.”
“I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin,” he added. “I’m going to do my best to show all of our members, Democrats and Republicans and those members who voted against me, that I’m up to the job that I was given.”
Boehner also claimed to have the eighth most conservative voting record in the House over his tenure.
As a young member, the Ohio Republican moved to abolish the House Bank, which angered some of his older Republican colleagues.
And as Speaker, he instituted an earmark ban, rankling many rank and file lawmakers eager to bring money back to their districts.