WASHINGTON -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has some comforting words for soon-to-be-former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio): I get it, man. I’ve been there.
“John and I both faced the fact that there was a hardcore group, sort of a minority of the party, who were prepared to cause total chaos,” Gingrich, who gave up his speakership in 1999, said on ABC News' “This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
“In Boehner's case, they wanted to vacate the chair. And John knew in that kind of fight, every one of the guys -- he'd win the fight -- but every guy who voted for him would face a primary fight back home because if you look at the poll that came out I think was today, you know, 62 percent of the Republicans in this country are mad at Boehner and McConnell," Gingrich continued.
"Well that means if you become a Boehner loyalist, back home you're going to have a primary fight and he just thought I'm not putting my friends through this kind of fight.”
Boehner stunned Washington by announcing Friday morning -- just a day after the visit of Pope Francis, his career’s emotional high point -- that he would be throwing in the towel not just as speaker but as a congressman. In a decision Boehner says he reached just hours before announcing, the Ohio Republican said he’d be leaving Congress at the end of October.