Former Speaker John A. Boehner told a crowd at Stanford University on Wednesday that he would vote for Donald Trump for president if he were the GOP nominee, but not for Sen. Ted Cruz.
“Lucifer in the flesh,” Boehner said of the Texan, according to the Stanford Daily . “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
At a news conference Thursday morning Cruz seized on the criticism from Boehner, saying he is precisely the kind of Republican deal-maker the Texas senator has been railing against in his presidential campaign.
“John Boehner had some interesting comments last night,” Cruz said. “He allowed his inner Trump to come out.
“If you want a president like John Boehner,” he added, “Donald Trump is your man.”
Boehner, an Ohio Republican known for being a particularly avid golfer, said he has hit the links with Trump, the GOP presidential front-runner. He also added that they were “texting buddies.”
The event was not broadcast, according to the newspaper.
Boehner previously endorsed the third candidate remaining in the 2016 Republican presidential field, Ohio Gov. John Kasich. He made that endorsement in mid-March, ahead of the Ohio primary.
Speaker Paul Ryan declined to wade into the dispute.
“I have a much better relationship than that with Senator Cruz,” the Wisconsin Republican said at a Thursday news conference. “Look, my job is to help unify our party, is to take all pieces of the conservative movement and the Republican Party and help stitch them together, especially after a primary. I have a very good relationship with both of these men, and I’m going to keep it that way.”