Updated 4:17 p.m. | Donald Trump said Friday that congressional Republicans are “babies" and questioned the competence of the party’s leaders upon news that Speaker John A. Boehner will resign next month.
The comments from the Republican frontrunner came during an appearance at the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of evangelical voters where, at times, the rhetoric at times sounds as much like that of a revival than a political rally. “I believe in God. I believe in the Bible. I’m a Christian,” Trump said, armed with a Bible he said his mother gave him, waving it in front of a crowd of Christian conservatives at the event hosted by the Family Research Council.
Like many of the Republican candidates who took the stage, Trump got loud applause when he mentioned Boehner's resignation. Trump told reporters he thought it was the right time for Boehner to step aside but declined to say who should replace him.
“Speaker Boehner, some people like him on a personal basis,” Trump told the crowd. But, he said, “We want to see the job being done properly. We want people who can get it done.”
Later Friday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Friday afternoon that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should join Boehner in resigning.
Trump said if Republicans were unified by their leaders, and if they focused the energy that has been spent on intraparty turmoil on making good on campaign promises, its leaders would be more popular to the party's base.
“We don’t have time. We have a country that’s in such danger and such trouble,” Trump said. “To be politically correct, every word is measured — I can do it, but who wants to do it? We have to get to business.”
That displeasure with the effectiveness of politicians like Boehner and others who have led the Republican Party was a central theme of many of the candidates' messages.
“I’m angry because I wasted a lot of my time last year to get people elected,” former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said. “They’re not doing anything different in the majority than they did in the minority."
Ben Carson, the retired Baltimore neurosurgeon who has risen in the polls, said, “Political correctness is ruining our country. We need to stand up for what we believe.”
After appearances by other candidates like Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and former Sen. Rick Santorum, Trump, speaking to a packed ballroom, earned boos when he referred to “this clown, Marco Rubio." The Florida Republican had questioned Trump's knowledge of the issues Thursday in a radio interview.
Rubio used his speech as an opportunity to introduce a proposal to provide a tax credit for businesses who offer employees paid family leave — a Republican counterpoint to Hillary Rodham Clinton's own plan.
On Saturday, the Family Research Council, which hosts the event, will reveal the results of a presidential straw poll of the paid attendees.
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