John Boehner announces his resignation

Newt Gingrich weighs in on the Speaker of the House retiring on 'The O'Reilly Factor'


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 25, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BOLLING: In the "Impact Segment" tonight, Speaker of the House John Boehner shocked the political world by announcing he will retire from Congress.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's become clear to me that this prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable harm to the institution so this morning I informed my colleagues that I would resign from the speakership and resign from Congress at the end of October.


BOLLING: Now Boehner, who has been speaker since 2011 is stepping down after more than 30 conservative Republicans were reportedly threatening to force a no confidence vote on his leadership. Boehner was struggling to pass legislation to avert a government shutdown next month while also dealing with conservative demands to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

With us now is someone who knows a thing or two about being Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. So, Newt, did you see that coming?

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: No I really didn't. Callista and I were with John and his wife yesterday afternoon after the Pope left. He was tired and Debbie was tired but we didn't pick up a single hint that this was going to happen, certainly not this fast.

On the other hand let me just say as a very, very devout Catholic I think that John Boehner's highlight as Speaker will always be yesterday. And I can't imagine a better day for him to decide to announce he was leaving than the day after the Pope came to the Congress.

BOLLING: Newt, I'm just trying to figure out the timing on that. He literally announced his resignation and made his announcement in between two papal addresses and speeches and prayers. I don't know, I'm thinking if maybe wait until Monday? No?

GINGRICH: No, I think -- you know, my guess is he literally went home and he said this in his interview which I thought by the way his Q & A session was as good an example of Boehner's style and of his strengths of anything I've seen him do in a long time -- very low key, very practical, very sort of small town Ohio kind of guy.

And, you know, he said he went home last night. He had been thinking about it. They thought they were going to do it in November. But after yesterday it just kind of felt right. And he told his wife last night, he got up this morning and said yes, let's do it.

BOLLING: Do you add in to the equation the fact that he has got this pending potential government shutdown that would be hung on him, again, because frankly, the Republicans blew it. They had opportunity to hang a shutdown on President Obama, but for some reason it came back to them pointing a finger at them. Maybe the timing just seems, I don't know, I just don't like it.

GINGRICH: Well, I think part of the timing is that he has got 30 or 40 guys on his right who are constantly attacking and who are threatening to move no confidence against the Speaker. He's got several very hard issues coming up including the whole he question of Planned Parenthood and the cutting up of babies and selling of baby parts, which is horrendous.

And I think at one level is he just tired of it. Remember, he took over after the Republicans were defeated in '06. He brought the party back to big majority victory in '10. And led the party so that today there are more Republican House members than any time since 1928. And I think, in that sense, he had worked very hard.

BOLLING: But, specifically right now, he could have sent the spending bill to the Senate and on to President Obama's desk and without the funding for Planned Parenthood and then President Obama would have had to have vetoed that. Hence he shut the government down.

GINGRICH: Well, the fact is he can't get it through the Senate. They had a vote the other day and they lost eight --

BOLLING: That's not his fault though. I mean he can get the vote in the House and just get it on paper.

GINGRICH: Sure. Well, there is no question he can get a vote in the House. In fact, he has a proposal to put it on reconciliation, which only takes 51 votes in the senate. It does not take 60. So it wasn't that he wasn't working on a strategy to do it. But it's also true that there is a block of his members who are not going to help him keep the government open. And that he is going to be right back in that mess.

I think you are probably right. I think Boehner faced with that said, you know, I have done my share. I have served my country, I'm going home.

BOLLING: Yes. But then here is the other part of the problem is that he says I have done my share, I have done my debt to the country, I'm going home. And now we have a bill that's literally in havoc, right?

GINGRICH: No. I think, look, they will -- the system sorts itself out very fast. They are going to have elections. They are going to have new leadership. They are going to have new energy and new drive and we will see if Kevin McCarthy becomes speaker how does he handle all of this?

But I think Boehner felt that he had literally burned out his ability to be helpful. And, you know, if you look how hard he worked in the last eight years, getting him back into the majority, then growing that majority, it was a pretty remarkable achievement.

BOLLING: So, do you think that what's going on in the Presidential race right now, this bifurcation of the GOP between the establishment and non-establishment, Boehner has been kind of known to be or perceived to be as an establishment type of guy, do you think this has something to do with it because the non-establishment candidates for president are doing very well.

GINGRICH: Well, I think it's got to say something to everybody in Washington both in the House and the Senate. By my count, the top non- insiders and I always count Cruz as part of this because he works so hard not to be an insider. So you have got Trump, you have got Fiorina, you have got Carson, you have Cruz, they are about together 60 percent of the Republican primary veto right now. That's got to be seen as a signal of how unhappy people are with Washington, D.C.

BOLLING: All right. Well, it's going to get interesting the next couple of weeks to see if we can keep the government open or not.

Newt, thank you very much.

GINGRICH: Thanks -- good to be with you.

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