House Speaker John Boehner joined a global chorus Monday denouncing the Russian incursion into Ukraine, describing President Vladimir Putin as “a thug.”
In an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer, Boehner said foreign leaders visiting him on their way out of Washington universally lament America’s failure to lead on crisis after crisis.
“It’s time to stand up to Putin,” Boehner said of the Ukraine invasion, calling for unspecified joint sanctions with other European nations. “At what point do you say enough is enough?”
Saying foreign dignitaries are “just dismayed that America is not leading,” he said, “When we don’t lead and we’re not strong, it allows the weak leaders around the world to take advantage of their neighbors.”
Putin’s support of Syria and Iran are prime examples, he said.
In matters closer to home, the speaker said he not only plans to run for a third term but expects to win by a comfortable margin.
“It won’t even be close,” he said. “I frankly think I’m in better shape with my own caucus than I have been at any time in the last three years.”
Boehner told the Enquirer he discussed the thorny issue of immigration with the president at their meeting last week.
“He wants to get it done,” he said, again avoiding specifics. “I want to get it done, but he’s going to have to help us in the process.”
Boehner took issue with critics who have accused GOP leadership of kowtowing to amnesty proponents, listing various steps to citizenship the party plans to make available to illegal immigrants, including admission of unauthorized entrance, payment of fines and back taxes, and a background check.
And despite popular belief, he considers himself a friend to the tea party, pointing to his historically conservative voting record, while also acknowledging that few actually take notice of it.
“It’s really hard for me to accept that I’m the establishment,” he said. “But given the length of time I’ve been there, given the position I have, it’s easy to put me in the establishment category.”
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