Donald Trump says there’s a movement afoot to oust John Boehner as Speaker of the House — and potential replacements are asking for his support.
The billionaire Republican presidential frontrunner was in Washington Wednesday to speak at a rally against the Iran nuclear agreement organized by fellow presidential contender Ted Cruz, with the help of the Tea Party Patriots and the Zionist Organization of America. Though the rally was slated to have upwards of 50 speakers, Trump was the main attraction. As soon as he showed up, pandemonium broke out as reporters engaged in heated arguments with Capitol Police to be allowed to get near the real estate mogul in order to pose questions, suggesting the “Summer of Trump” is far from over.
With Cruz speaking to the assembled crowd in the background, Trump didn’t quite come out in support of Boehner’s removal as speaker to a group of reporters, but he did say he was disappointed in him and his “vigor.”
“Well, it’s very disappointing,” Trump said of Boehner’s leadership in the House. “You know, I know him on a personable basis, I really like him a lot. But he’s been very disappointing in terms of his vigor and in terms of stopping Obamacare and many other things and certainly in terms of even this [stopping the Iran deal].”
Many conservatives are openly resentful of the Republican leadership in Congress for failing to do enough, in their view, to stand up to President Barack Obama’s agenda. Trump’s critique of Boehner’s “vigor” is reminiscent of his attacks on Republican contender Jeb Bush, who Trump constantly tags as having “low-energy.”
Though Trump didn’t explicitly come out in support of deposing Boehner, he did say that members of Congress have approached him seeking his support for the post.
“I don’t want to say right now,” Trump said when asked by TheDC who would make a better speaker, “but I have a lot of people asking for my support, I will tell you.”
“So obviously there is a movement on,” he added.
In recent weeks, Trump has committed what some in the media consider gaffes on foreign policy, most notably during an interview with radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt in which he seemed not to know several of the leaders of various Islamist terror groups or the difference between the terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
“I will know far more than you know within 24 hours after I get the job,” Trump promised Hewitt after claiming the host was asking “gotcha” questions.
Asked by Buzzfeed reporter Rosie Gray at the rally if he could now tell the difference between the two terrorist groups, Trump dismissed her with a wave of his hand.
Trump said recently on “Meet The Press” that he gets military advice from watching cable news shows. Asked by TheDC whether he has reached out to any military experts since then to receive briefings, Trump disputed the premise of the question.
“No, no, I get it [advice] from everywhere,” he said.
Pressed again to see if he has now called experts in to come brief him on foreign policy, Trump said yes, but refused to name names.
“Yes I have, many people,” he said.
With the exception of an interview with TheDC last week, Trump has so far refrained from criticizing fellow contender Ben Carson, who is rapidly rising in the polls. When asked if he had any response to Carson’s Tuesday critique of his immigration plan as impractical, Trump simply said Carson’s is “wrong.”
“He’s wrong. He’s wrong,” Trump said in an unusually understated counterattack. “He’s a nice guy. He’s wrong. It’s very feasible.”
As Trump took the stage to talk to the assembled crowd, radio talk show host Glenn Beck, who was also slated to speak at the rally, could be seen standing quietly in the distance behind the stage. Beck has been among the more vehement conservative critics of Trump, regularly referring to him as a “progressive.” Asked by TheDC whether he had an opportunity to meet with Trump at the rally, Beck said no.
“I haven’t met him,” Beck said. “Don’t think it’s appropriate to have our conversation here today. We’re here to be united today.”
Later, Beck and Cruz held court together while reporters posed questions. Cruz has adamantly refused to criticize Trump on the campaign trail and is one of Beck’s favorite GOP presidential contenders.
As the Beck-Cruz scrum broke up, TheDC approached Cruz and asked him what he thought of Beck’s claim that Trump is a progressive. After taking in the question, Cruz simply turned and walked away, saying nothing and assuring his friendships with both Beck and Trump remained in tact.