Boehner Decided To Resign Thursday Night After Saying His Prayers

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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House Speaker John Boehner said he decided to resign from Congress after he said his prayers Thursday night and reflected on Pope Francis’ visit.

“I started thinking about this last night, said my prayers … and decided today I want to do this,” he said at a press conference Friday. Boehner had planned to retire last year, but changed his mind when former Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary race.

After his customary visit to Pete’s Diner on the Hill Friday morning, Boehner said he confirmed his decision and then told his senior aides.

“Was I emotional yesterday, I think I was, ” he said, tearing up as he was asked about whether the ope inspired his exit. He was emotional behind the scenes, he said, when the pope pulled him aside in private and asked Boehner to pray for him.

But he added: “It was never about the pope.”

Boehner shocked the Republican caucus when he announced his decision early Friday morning in a closed-door meeting, just a day after Pope Francis addressed a joint meeting of Congress.

He’s under intense pressure to defund Planned Parenthood from the House Freedom Caucus and other Republicans as a funding deadline looms, and some had threatened to oust him.

“I feel good about what I’ve done,” Boehner said. “It’s been an honor to serve here.”

Asked how he would advise his to-be-determined successor, Boehner said: “If you just do the right thing every day for the right reasons, the right thing will happen.”

President Obama praised Boehner in reaction to the news at a press conference Friday, but said he hopes the next speaker understands it’s not okay to shut down the government.

“When you have a democracy, compromise is necessary and I think Speaker Boehner sometimes had difficulty persuading members of his caucus that,” he said.

“I don’t necessarily think there’s going to be a big shift,” he added.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is technically next in line for the position.

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