Former House Speaker John Boehner, who helped lead Republicans to win the House majority in 2010, will hit the road this summer in an effort to help save it.
Boehner plans to embark on an August bus tour aboard a rented motor coach dubbed “Freedom One,” in the tradition of his campaign bus during his years as speaker, a spokesman confirmed exclusively to CNN. The swing will take Boehner across the country, with seven stops confirmed thus far, and more likely to be added later.
“Why does he do it? He likes getting out among the people, mixing it up and feeling the pulse of the nation, while supporting his former colleagues and the next generation of leaders,” said Dave Schnittger, a spokesman for Boehner. “He didn’t do it last summer, and he missed it. Actually, I think ‘miserable’ is the word he used. This summer there’s both a demand for it and a renewed desire on his part, so it was an easy call.”
The decision fits with the speaker’s post-Congress style. Even as he has joined corporate boards of directors and hit the links, Boehner has remained politically engaged in his retirement from elected office. Last month he hosted an event at the Capitol Hill Club to benefit the National Republican Congressional Committee; and Boehner’s leadership PAC, the Freedom Project, is still active, with nearly $1 million cash on hand.
But Boehner’s August bus tour holds a special status as one of his political signatures, which he started in the late ‘90s as House Republican conference chairman and maintained through his speakership. The tradition continued in 2016 after Boehner had retired from Congress, but was put on hold last year due to the demands of Boehner’s speaking schedule and his day job, as a strategic adviser with Squire Patton Boggs.
Boehner, who left Congress facing a revolt from conservatives, might be an awkward surrogate for the party in the era of President Donald Trump, at least in some corners of the country. But this year, House Republicans will need all the help they can get. Party leaders have routinely characterized the climate leading up to the midterm elections as extremely challenging for the GOP, and public polling has reflected that, with Republicans lagging Democrats