Boehner told reporters that he did not consult the White House before inviting Netanyahu, but he has denied that the move was intended to provoke the president.
"The Congress can make this decision on its own. I don't believe I'm poking anyone in the eye,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said Wednesday. “There is a serious threat that exists in the world and the president, last night, kind of papered over it. And the fact is, is that there needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is from radical Islamic jihadists and the threat posed by Iran.”
The Iran nuclear issue has caused apparent tension in the Obama-Netanyahu relationship for years.
Meehan noted that Obama “has had many conversations with the prime minister on [the Iran nuclear issue], and I am sure they will continue to be in contact on this and other important matters.”
The address will now occur March 3, though Boehner originally invited Netanyahu to come to the Capitol on Feb. 11. The prime minister requested to delay the trip a few weeks in order to have his address coincide with a previously planned visit to Washington. The White House was not consulted ahead of time, breaking a protocol traditionally extended from the legislative leaders to the president.
“I don't think that's appropriate for any country, that the head of state would come here within two weeks of his own election in his own country,” said Pelosi, D-California. She added that if building a case for sanctions against Iran is the purpose of Netanyahu's visit “I just don't think it's appropriate and helpful.”