(CNSNews.com) - Conservative leaders were sharply critical of former House Speaker John Boehner for saying in an appearance at Stanford University on Wednesday that Sen. Ted Cruz was "Lucifer in the flesh."
“This level of discourse is disappointing, especially coming from a former party leader like Speaker Boehner. All members of our party—and especially our leaders—should be above calling each other names, let alone accusing each other of being Satan," Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) told CNSNews.com.
"I guess Boehner must be very well-acquainted with the Devil because if there's anyone whose duplicity and fecklessness put the Republican Party through hell over the past six years and consigned it to its present state of political purgatory, it is John Boehner,” Richard Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ, told CNSNews.
“It’s ridiculous,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said when CNSNews asked him to comment on Boehner’s remarks. “Ted Cruz was simply doing what he campaigned on, and that’s anathema to congressional Republicans like John Boehner, who campaigned on the same issues and never did anything about them.
But “Boehner may know something about [Lucifer] because he carried a lot of policies that Satan would embrace, such as funding Planned Parenthood,” Perkins pointed out.
“I think it is a further indication that the creatures of Washington are more interested in preserving their power than saving the country and they truly resent that Ted Cruz shined a spotlight on them,” Erick Erickson, conservative talk radio host and editor of The Resurgent, told CNSNews.
"Former Speaker of the House John Boehner shame on you!" Franklin Graham tweeted. "You had no business calling @TedCruz 'Lucifer in the flesh' - this is an embarrassment."
“Thank goodness John Boehner has been put out to the political pasture. He's now a relic from a bygone era, and would be better off sticking to golf and staying away from politics,” Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Self-Governance, told CNSNews.
During a talk at Stanford University on Wednesday with history emeritus Prof. David Kennedy, Boehner was asked his opinion of Cruz.
Boehner replied: “Lucifer in the flesh. I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable [expletive] in my life,” the former House speaker added, according to The Stanford Daily.
Cruz later said that he met Boehner only “two or three times” and that the two men exchanged no more than 50 words.
“John Boehner’s response was, ‘I have no interest in talking’,” Cruz responded. “So when he says I’m the worst guy he ever worked with, he didn’t work with me.”
“Here's John Boehner, the former speaker of the House, who had to work with [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and [Senate Minority Leader] Harry Reid (D-NV) and [President] Barack Obama, and he says that Ted Cruz was the worst he ever had to work with?” syndicated talk radio host Rush Limbaugh reportedly asked on his show Thursday.
"Isn't that a little bizarre? Especially since they both claim, both Boehner and Cruz, to be conservatives.”
This was not the first time Boehner, who resigned from the speakership last October under mounting pressure from House conservatives, referred to his fellow Republican in demonic terms. Politico reported in March that at an event in Florida, the former House speaker also referred to Cruz as “lucifer” and “a jackass”.
In an October 2015 interview on Meet the Press, Cruz blamed the Republican leadership “in both chambers” for not following through on their campaign promises, including the repeal of Obamacare.
"Why do you think Boehner’s stepping down? He’s stepping down because the American people are furious with Republican leaders that don’t do what they promised.
“And you know, it’s interesting. I do town halls all over the country, and I asked folks, okay, we have [had] Republican majorities in both houses for 10 months. What on earth have they accomplished?
“Every town hall you do, the answer is always: absolutely nothing,” Cruz told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “And usually I respond and say it’s worse than that. It would have been better if it were nothing.
“Republican leadership are the most effective Democrat leaders we’ve ever seen. They passed more Democratic priorities than Harry Reid ever could.”