- John Boehner said in a USA Today interview that Trump “abused” his loyalists in the aftermath of the 2020 election.
- Boehner slammed Trump for “continuing to say things that just weren’t true” about the final results.
- The former House speaker said that he felt “disgust” over the Capitol insurrection.
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Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner said that former President Donald Trump “abused” his political loyalists and followers by continually invoking voter fraud in the months after the November 2020 election.
In a USA Today interview to promote his forthcoming book, “On the House: A Washington Memoir,” Boehner detailed how he was deeply affected by the deadly January 6 Capitol riot and felt like speaking out would shine a light on Trump’s role in the insurrection.
“I don’t think it was just about him showing up at a rally on Jan. 6th,” he said. “The comments that were made all summer about the election was going to be stolen from him, all the follow-up noise that occurred after the election – I kept looking for the facts.”
He added: “What struck me, especially after the election, was here’s all these people loyal to Donald Trump, and he abused them. He stepped all over their loyalty to him by continuing to say things that just weren’t true.”
For months, Trump led a misinformation campaign against the 2020 presidential election results, with his campaign filing lawsuits across the country to overturn votes in a multitude of key swing states and the former president himself refusing to meet with his successor, President Joe Biden.
Even after states like Georgia and Pennsylvania had certified their election results, Trump sought far-fetched legal maneuvers to overturn the election.
Boehner, who spent nearly 25 years in Congress, shared how difficult it was to watch the events of January 6 unfold given his deeply personal connection to the institution.
After looking at news developments for roughly an hour, the former speaker, who developed a feeling of “disgust” regarding the riot, had to turn off his television.
“I couldn’t stand it, to watch any more,” he told USA Today. “Awful. I mean, it’s incomprehensible for me to believe this really happened.”
“I once said the party of Lincoln and Reagan is off taking a nap,” he wrote. “The nap has become a nightmare for our nation. The GOP must awaken. The invasion of our Capitol by a mob, incited by lies from some entrusted with power, is a disgrace to all who sacrificed to build our Republic.”
That same week, he sent a longer email to an informal group of friends and former colleagues known as “Boehnerland,” further expressing his thoughts about the riot.
“It’s been a dark and tragic week for America, on the heels of a very difficult year for our country and our world,” he wrote. “I can’t imagine any of us will ever escape the image of the United States Capitol being invaded and ransacked.”
In a nod to old colleagues remaining in government, he added: “Boehnerland still has something to offer the country we love.”
Boehner told USA Today that he received “dozens” of responses to his email, including from Capitol Police officers who were part of his security detail. On January 7, Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick passed away from injuries suffered during the riots the day before.