CLOSE
Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

John Boehner may be years removed from political office in Washington, D.C., but the former House speaker had plenty to say Monday night about President Donald Trump and the current squabbles across party lines.

Although he said he would have done things differently, Boehner was complimentary about the president’s performance.

“It should be clear to you that Donald Trump has a different style than I do,” Boehner said to the Caxambas Republican Club on Marco Island, where Boehner and his wife live six months out of the year. “I always thought you caught more bees with honey than you do with vinegar. …

"Donald Trump, in my view, by and large, has done the right things.”

In 2018: Former House Speaker John Boehner joins advisory board for legalized pot firm

Boehner, a Republican, pointed first to the 2017 tax bill, which he said had produced good results for the economy.

The bill reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent while nearly doubling the standard deduction and lowering the tax rates for each income level. The bill also included a larger child tax credit for low-income and working-class families, as well as an opportunity to deduct $10,000 in local and state taxes.

Boehner said the bill was largely the work of Congress, but he said Trump managed not to mess it up.

“He was smart enough to stay the hell out of the way,” Boehner said.

Another area where he agreed with Trump but disagreed with his tenor was on the current trade war with China.

Boehner said it was time China played along with the world’s rules and emphasized that the protection of American intellectual property is the No. 1 trade issue. Experts have estimated theft of intellectual property has cost the U.S. between $225 billion and $600 billion annually. 

Looking to protect American interests, Trump began to place tariffs on foreign goods.

China promptly retaliated.

The U.S. and China agreed Dec. 1 to a 90-day truce, and negotiations are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at the White House.

The White House stated the negotiations are needed to achieve "structural changes in China that affect trade between the United States and China."

Contending the trade relationship was largely ignored before Trump, Boehner said it was time to recognize that China is going to become a world superpower.

“The best way to avoid friction between us and them is to have a trade relationship that is in the benefit of both countries,” Boehner said. “This is a fight that needs to happen. All of the U.S. businesses in China that I talked to when I was in China all uniformly said the same thing: ‘It’s time to have a fight. It’s time to bring some resolution to us.’”

In 2017: On Marco, John Boehner discusses discusses Syria, health care, Russia

And: See what John Boehner had to say in f-bomb-laden, salty interview with Politico

The shutdown, talk radio and 'goofballs'

Boehner couldn’t help but laugh about the partial government shutdown and what he perceived to be the causes.

After coming to an agreement on a spending bill with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the president changed his mind and shut down the government.

Boehner placed some of the blame on “talk radio people” criticizing the president, and the “goofballs on the right.”

“The knuckleheads in Congress that listen to these guys start blowing in the president’s ear,” Boehner said. “All of sudden, the president calls (former House Speaker) Paul Ryan and (current House Minority Leader) Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and says, ‘I want $5 billion or nothing,’

"When I was looking for legislative strategy, the last place I looked was talk radio," Boehner said. "The second last place I looked was the knucklehead caucus, who don’t know how to vote yes on anything. They did the president a total disservice.”

Drawing from his own experience in 2013 when the government shut down over "Obamacare," Boehner said one of the things he told Trump was to stop talking about building the wall at the Mexico border and to focus his rhetoric on securing the borders.

“Your people will hear build the wall, but to the rest of America, they’ll hear let’s secure our borders, which we need to do,” Boehner said. “We’ve never taken this seriously.

“If we’re going to be a sovereign nation, we need to secure the borders. We also have to understand that to the rest of the world, America is utopia.”

Boehner also blamed the divisiveness in Congress on the far-leaning sides of both parties.

“Both parties are being held hostage by the extremes in their party,” Boehner said.

Boehner said the Democratic Party is undergoing a transformation like the GOP did when the Tea Party grew in influence earlier this decade. Now he cites those he calls “ultra-progressives” among  Democrats.

“Chuck Schumer and (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., you can cut a deal with them,” Boehner said. “If they would have moved one inch towards Donald Trump, they would have had their heads taken off by the far left.”

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: https://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/politics/2019/01/29/ex-speaker-john-boehner-compliments-donald-trumps-accomplishments/2679048002/