Boehner: Trump has been ‘divisive’ but ‘sometimes very effective’
PHOENIX — Former House Speaker John Boehner did not hold back on what he thinks about President Donald Trump during a visit to Arizona on Wednesday.
“America elected probably the most unusual person we’ve ever had as president,” Boehner said, pointing to Trump.
The Ohio Republican said he used to call Trump whenever he was having a tough week during his nearly five years as House speaker. He described the president as a friend and golfing partner but said he never quite saw Trump as president.
Boehner also commented on Trump’s first months as president, saying Trump can be sometimes “divisive” and “incoherent” but also “sometimes very effective.” He credited the president’s administration for getting rid of unnecessary regulations, helping improve the economy and stepping up efforts to fight against ISIS.
Boehner made these comments while speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Paradise Valley. The event was part of the Chamber’s leadership series.
When asked what he thought about Congress, the former House speaker commented on healthcare and tax reform.
He said he doesn’t believe Republicans will be successful in repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Instead, he said they have a better shot at repairing it by getting rid of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and empowering states to take a bigger role, among other steps.
On tax reform, he said he’s “optimistic” Congress will get legislation approved this year. If that doesn’t happen, he said, Republicans could be in trouble.
“Because they’ve not been able to get the big things done that they’ve talked about, there’s this feeling of desperation on Capitol Hill,” he said. “They know they have to get something done or, in the next election, they’re going to face some serious headwinds.”
Immigration was also a major topic of discussion during Wednesday’s luncheon. Boehner said he believes there’s broad support in Congress for immigration reform. He added that he predicts Trump will sign a comprehensive immigration reform bill during his presidency.
As for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation, Boehner said he thinks Congress will pass legislation this year to replace it. Trump announced in September he was ending DACA and gave Congress six months to replace it.
“Congress will get this fixed,” Boehner said. “It’ll be part of the budget package probably at the end of the year, because I don’t think the Democrats will vote for a funding bill without DACA as part of it.”
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