John Boehner calls Ted Cruz ‘Lucifer in the flesh’

The former House speaker shares why he details his animosity for the senator in his new book, “On The House,” and if he believes the Republican Party can be rehabilitated.
8:39 | 04/12/21

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Transcript for John Boehner calls Ted Cruz ‘Lucifer in the flesh’
Former speaker of the house John Boehner's trademark brutal honesty is alive and well in his new me more "On the house," a pull no punches look at the people who control the corridors of power and a cautionary tale about who he says hijacked the GOP. Please welcome, John Boehner. Hey, I love the cover of this book. I think it's one of my favorite things ever. Joy has the first question. Okay. Yes, the cover is great. Let's dive right in. In this book you come right out and say that trump incited that bloody insurrection by perpetuating the election lie and that it was especially sad to see some house and members of the senate assist him. Quote, although some of the people involved did not surprise me, the legislative terrorism I witnessed as speaker had now encouraged terrorism. So, if as you describe members of your own party provoked this terrorism, should they be held accountable, even criminally liable for it, John? What do you think? Well, listen, this is politics. It's not about some criminal proceeding. Listen, I watched before the election. Hearing the president talk about the election going to be stolen from him, then when we get into the post-election months and he kept talking about how the election was being stolen. I kept looking for facts. Unfortunately I never saw any facts. I don't think the American people ever saw any facts. The saddest part is the president abused the loyalty and the trust that voters placed in him by perpetuating this noise. It was really one of the sadder things I've seen in the last 40 years in politics. Mr. Speaker, you saw the insurrection should have been a wake up call for a return to Republican sanity. Just this weekend trump was repeating the big lie, the election was stolen in front of a roomful of RNC donors and law makers. Where's the wake-up call? Why can't Republicans make it clear he's lying? Do any of them actually believe him? I don't know. I'm not in the political world these days. I try to stay as far away from it as I can. Here's a guy who is unemployed, has nothing else to do except to cause trouble and clearly it's obvious to me he's not going to go away. I think what Republicans need to do is act like Republicans. You know, I'm a conservative Republican. I'm not crazy. I believe in fiscal responsibility. I believe in a strong national we need to rally the party around what being a Republican means. Those principles are straightforward and simple. Speaker, talking about crazies, throughout this book you describe how your party has been taken over by kooks and lunatics who want to blow up Washington. Your party has Marjorie Taylor Greene who blamed jewish space lasers for wildfires, along with Matt Gaetz. Is there a way to rehabilitate the party and considering you did your fair share of backing some of their tear party predecessors when you were in office, do you feel you were part of the problem? Listen, the American people send people to Washington on both sides of aisle. Some Republicans. Some Democrats. Some are traditional Republicans like me. Some traditional Democrats. They also sent people who are there to create chaos for their own political benefit. On the far left and far right. I didn't get these people elected. The American people sent them there. As the leader in the house for five years, my job was to try to mobilize the majority party into doing things that would help the American people, help American government, and there were some people who were always getting in the way. I should say that 90% of the members of congress on both sides of the aisle are really good decent people trying to do the right thing for the American people every day. There's a fringe in both parties that make it difficult for the leaders, frankly, to lead. Both parties are being held hostage by the loudest voices in their parties. So it's a very difficult time to govern. The last thing I'm going to do is make it more difficult for those trying to lead to do their job. I agree with that. I'm worried we're headed towards the most divided time in our nation and, while president Biden has promised to usher in a new era of bipartisan, so far he's issued more than 50 executive orders and chosen to go it alone on issues like the stimulus. You said that president Obama never made reaching across the aisle a priority. Is Biden continuing the tradition? My understanding is he still hasn't called Kevin Mccarthy and just recently called Mitch Mcconnell. Listen, Joe Biden is a good guy. He's a traditional Democrat. What he's trying to do is hold his party together. There's a skirmish going on between the Progressive wing of the democratic party and the traditional west wing of the democratic party. Up to this point, president Biden has been keeping close to the Progressive wing at the expense of working with Republicans to work in a bipartisan way. He's got a very difficult job in his party these days. He's got a very difficult job as it is being president. I'm hopeful that here incoming weeks we'll see president Biden reaching out. I worked with him for 30 years. I know this guy inside and out. There isn't a thing in the world that Joe Biden and I couldn't work out together. It wouldn't be everything I wanted. Certainly wouldn't be everything he wanted. We could have found enough common ground to do some good things on behalf of the American Yeah. It's much worse now, sir, than when you were there. In the book you plainly state that a member of congress behaving badly makes the whole house look bad. That's what you say. That's correct. Would Matt Gaetz already be gone if you were in charge today? Well, I would say this, as someone who pledged to my colleagues that I wouldn't tolerate bad behavior, he would have been in my office several times answering questions from me about his activities. In America people are innocent until proven guilty. The man hasn't even been charged yet. I don't know what the facts are. We'll see. But, you know, if the fact are anywhere close to what's been reported, you know, I don't think he's going to be a member of congress very long. You've never been shy about your animosity for senator Ted Cruz, but you take it to the next level in the book writing, there is nothing more dangerous than a reckless bleep who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. You say even Mitch Mcconnell hated him with a passion. I didn't know Mitch had it I him. And we hear you ad libbed some rather colorful commentary we can't repeat here when you recorded the audio book portion about him. What is it about Cruz that gets you so fired up? Cruz says you're obsessed with him. Well, this guy was not even a member of the U.S. House. He's a member of the senate. He's coming over to the house side of the capitol stirring up some of my knuckle heads and pushing them to do things that were the dumbest thing I've ever seen in my life. He was not even a member of our caucus. Just a bit bizarre that I've never seen happen before or since like the activities of Ted Cruz. You know, I don't really beat up too many people in this book, except one, Ted Cruz, lucipher in the flesh.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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