Former House Speaker John Boehner said former President Donald Trump “incited that bloody insurrection” at the US Capitol and blamed his false election claims for the GOP losing control of Congress, according to a copy of his forthcoming book obtained by CNN.
Republicans have wobbled over whether to embrace the 45th President’s legacy as an electoral strategy, and Boehner’s scathing rebuke amounts to the latest plea by the former de facto head of the GOP to resist Trump’s influence as it defines itself in the Biden era.
Trump’s “refusal to accept the result of the election not only cost Republicans the Senate but led to mob violence,” the former speaker writes in his forthcoming book, “On the House: A Washington Memoir,” adding, “It was painful to watch.”
Boehner also said the former president “incited that bloody insurrection for nothing more than selfish reasons, perpetuated by the bullshit he’d been shoveling since he lost a fair election the previous November.”
“He claimed voter fraud without any evidence, and repeated those claims, taking advantage of the trust placed in him by his supporters and ultimately betraying that trust,” Boehner said.
Jason Miller, an adviser to Trump, called Boehner a “Swamp Creature” in a statement to CNN on Wednesday and suggested the former speaker’s criticism was motivated by business interests with China. Boehner is a senior strategic adviser with Squire Patton Boggs, a large law firm that has offices in the US and across the globe, including China.
The passages were first reported on by The New York Times and later confirmed by CNN. The Times reported that Trump asked in an email to the paper about Boehner, “Was he drinking when he made this statement? Just another RINO who couldn’t do the job!”
Boehner also wrote he wasn’t prepared for Trump “refusing to accept the results and stoking the flames of conspiracy that turned into violence in the seat of our democracy” in the building he once presided over. “Watching it was scary, and sad. It should have been a wake-up call for a return to Republican sanity.”
Boehner resigned as House speaker in late 2015 amid clashes with the growing conservative caucus of the Republican Party. Since then, he has occasionally publicly voiced disillusionment with the GOP under Trump’s influence, saying in 2018, “There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump Party.”
Meanwhile, Trump continues to exert significant pressure on the direction of the current Republican Party, which overwhelmingly voted to acquit him in this year’s impeachment trial for his role in inciting the January 6 riot. Several leading Republicans have met with Trump, and the 45th president has announced plans to be an active participant in the midterm elections, including with his endorsement of Rep. Mo Brooks in the Alabama US Senate race on Wednesday.
This story has been updated with additional reaction.
CNN’s Jim Acosta contributed to this report.