WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner shocked the GOP conference Friday morning when he told them at a meeting he would be stepping down from his position at the end of the month and now Republican members are scrambling to fill his position.
“Republicans have an obligation to find someone who will represent the whole House and that will undoubtedly lead to somebody who can bring Republicans together and work with the Democrats,” California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa told The Daily Caller.
New York Republican Rep. Peter King was disappointed about the news of Boehner’s resignation.
“I think it’s a sad day. The crazies won this and that can’t be allowed to happen,” King said. He added, “No matter who [the new speaker] is they should make the commitment they’re not going to give it to those guys.”
The House Freedom Caucus, a conservative pressure group which served as a thorn in Boehner’s side, is suspected as the catalyst for the speaker’s announced departure. The members fought Boehner on everything from funding Obamacare through Congressional Resolutions to pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is in the running as a potential successor to Boehner, but other members are likely to be interested in the job as well. Could a member of the Freedom Caucus become speaker? Issa does not think so.
“Boehner never had a camp per se,” the California Republican said when asked if someone from Boehner’s circle could be the next speaker. “I would say it’s not likely to be a member of the Freedom Caucus, but it’s certainly going to have to be somebody who the Freedom Caucus has respect for.”
South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy told reporters the job of speaker is hard and he does not want it.
“Oh please. Have you seen it? If I wanted to manage a mental health hospital, I would have gone into another line of work,” Gowdy said.
Issa also told TheDC he has no interest in running for Boehner’s job.
“Aren’t we all leaders?” he asked.
He explained, “No. This came as a shock to me. I’m busy trying to do immigration reform and patent reform but I’ll look at all the candidates.”
As far as supporting fellow California Republican Kevin McCarthy, Issa replied, “I’m not going to mention any votes right now. I voted for McCarthy in the past for the leader’s position and he’s got to make his case for how he’ll pull the whole House together.”
Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador, a member of the Freedom Caucus, reminded reporters that “there’s a whole long list” of members interested in running for Speaker. “We need to know who is running.”
Labrador believes Boehner did the “honorable thing” by retiring.
“He’s a good man and I think he did what he thought was best for the conference,” he said.
“Hopefully we can unite as a conference. We can work together. We can find somebody who can bring the factions of the conference together and move forward. There’s a lot of possibilities.”
Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, a long time opponent of Boehner’s political strategies wished the Speaker and his family well, and released a statement that said in part:
“So often, after being elected to Congress, members have the goal drilled into their head that there is nothing nobler than being a ‘team player.’ Football and our military are deep passions of mine, but their metaphorical uses in Congress are often inappropriate. For an appropriate use of the sports metaphor, too often ‘being a team player’ has disguised the fact that a play has been called that has us running toward the wrong goal line.”
“As members of Congress, we should be accountable to our constituents and nation more than any earthly responsibility. For the vast majority, we understand that ultimately we will all kneel accountably before God.”
And what about Rick Hohensee? The straggly haired bearded lone protester who has been standing outside of the House steps each legislative day “for ages” calling for members to vote him in as Speaker of the House.
“I’m really ticked [Boehner] didn’t endorse me for Speaker of the House,” he told TheDC, as members Congress walked up to Hohensee happily telling him the Speaker position just opened up for him to grab.