Republican Former House Speaker Criticizes Donald Trump for Listening to 'the Knucklehead Caucus' Over Government Shutdown

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner said he thinks Donald Trump has "done the right things," except when it came to listening to the "knucklehead caucus" during the partial government shutdown.

"It should be clear to you that Donald Trump has a different style than I do," Boehner said while speaking to a Republican club on Marco Island, Florida, on Monday night. "I always thought you caught more bees with honey than you do with vinegar."

Boehner, who served as Speaker under a Republican-led House from 2011 to 2015, went on to add that President Trump "in my view, by and large, has done the right things."

But according to the Naples Daily News, the former congressman couldn't "help but laugh" about how the partial government shutdown unfolded. The shutdown over border security ended last week when Trump signed a continuing resolution to keep the government open through February 15. The deal did not include any funds for his wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Boehner said he blamed "talk radio people" and "goofballs on the right" for criticizing the president when he appeared to come close to agreeing on a spending bill with Republican leaders shortly before the shutdown began.

"The knuckleheads in Congress that listen to these guys start blowing in the president's ear," Boehner said. "All of a sudden, the president calls Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy and says, 'I want $5 billion or nothing.'"

Boehner went on to say that when he was serving as speaker, "the last place I looked was talk radio." The second to last place he looked was "the knucklehead caucus, who don't know how to vote yes on anything. They did the president a total disservice."

former speaker john boehner
Former Speaker of the House John Boehner, who left Congress in 2015, said that he thinks President Donald Trump has done the “right things” except for listening to the “knucklehead caucus” over the government shutdown. Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Trump has remained defiant as he faces criticism from the right for reopening the government with no deal on border security. As Congress continues to work toward a federal spending deal, Trump has said that if he does not receive $5 billion in border wall funding, he will shutdown the government again.

"Only fools, or people with a political agenda, don't want a Wall or Steel Barrier to protect our Country from Crime, Drugs and Human Trafficking. It will happen - it always does!" Trump tweeted last week.

Boehner said on Monday that he once advised Trump to stop talking about the wall and instead focus his message on securing the borders.

"Your people will hear build the wall, but to the rest of America, they'll hear let's secure our borders, which we need to do," he said. "We've never taken this seriously."

Republican Former House Speaker Criticizes Donald Trump for Listening to 'the Knucklehead Caucus' Over Government Shutdown | U.S.