Politics

John Boehner Leaves House Control to a Coin Toss

Paul Ryan’s departure will not affect upcoming midterms, he says

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, walks to the House floor for the last time as speaker. Boehner said its a “50/50” shot for control of the House after the 2018 midterms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Speaker John Boehner does not have high hopes for Republicans retaining control of Congress after the 2018 midterm elections — he told NBC’s “Today” the party has even odds for keeping or losing the chamber.

“Frankly, it’s a 50/50 proposition,” Boehner said during the interview.

But if the House flips, it won’t be because of current Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s departure, the former Ohio representative said.

Ryan said he wasn’t leaving because of Trump or Republicans losing control of the House. Boehner said he believed him. Ryan was always focused on policy, he said.

Lawmakers Seem to Like Ryan’s Lame-Duck Speakership Plan

“He never wanted to be speaker,” Boehner said. “I had to beat him to death to take my job. Tax reform was his issue, and he spent all of his political career working on tax reform. When it was finished, I pretty well knew that he would probably move on.”

What’s more likely to drive a change in power is simply President Donald Trump’s election, he said.

“Once you have a change of presidents, the party out of power always gains seats,” Boehner said. “It has gone on for well over 100 years.”

Boehner himself became Speaker under similar circumstances. Republicans won big in the 2010 midterm elections after Barack Obama’s election in 2008, flipping 63 seats to the GOP.

Boehner joins many Republicans predicting a potential “blue wave” during this year’s midterm elections. Democrats would have to win a minimum of 24 seats to regain House control.

The former Speaker — and soon-to-be board member of one of the nation’s largest cannabis corporations — also said it was a “very bad idea” for President Trump to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or special counsel Robert Mueller.

“These are public servants who have got long careers, stand-up people who are charged with an investigation,” he said. “It’s real clear: Either there are facts or there are not. Either there were crimes committed or weren’t. There’s no reason why those investigations should be impeded at all.”

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