Speaker of the House John Boehner stunned audience members Wednesday evening at a Colorado fundraiser by referring to Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz as a “jackass,” two people in attendance tell The Daily Caller.
At a Steamboat Springs event for GOP Rep. Scott Tipton, the Ohio Republican quipped that he likes how Cruz’s presidential campaign keeps “that jackass” out of Washington, and from telling Boehner how to do his job.
That remark rubbed some attendees the wrong way.
“I don’t think it’s terribly speaker-like, and I think it kind of goes against everything that Reagan ever said about disparaging Republicans,” said Ed MacArthur, the president of Native Excavating, who attended the fundraiser.
“It’s becoming very disturbing to me that we can’t have good, polite conversation,” MacArthur said. “It all has to be at the throat.”
But MacArthur added: “I do believe he’s got the right to say it.”
Another Steamboat Springs resident confirmed Boehner’s remark: “I about fell on the floor.”
“To build coalitions to work together in Washington, D.C., you don’t start it out by calling your colleague a ‘jackass,'” she said.
The fundraiser took place at a tavern-styled venue called the Ghost Ranch. About 100 or more people were there. Boehner and Tipton addressed the crowd while standing in front of a stage.
It’s no surprise that Boehner and Cruz have a rocky relationship. The Texas senator and the speaker have clashed over tactics and policy. And Cruz, on the campaign trail, often criticizes the Republican Washington establishment.
For Cruz, the attack could be helpful: Boehner is not beloved by the conservative grassroots activists the Texas senator is courting. And it could further endear Cruz to voters who find Donald Trump’s anti-Washington message appealing.
The Daily Caller has reached out to Boehner, Cruz and Tipton’s press offices for comment.