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- Former Speaker John Boehner had nothing but kind words for Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday.
- The Ohio Republican praised his one-time foil at her official portrait unveiling on Capitol Hill.
- “No other speaker of the House … has wielded the gavel with such authority,” Boehner said.
Famously sentimental former GOP Speaker John Boehner couldn’t stop from tearing up as he lavished praise on outgoing Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday evening at the US Capitol.
“The younger generation today has a saying, ‘Game recognizes game.’ And the fact of the matter is no other speaker of the House in the modern era, Republican or Democrat, has wielded the gavel with such authority or with such consistent results,” the Ohio Republican told attendees at the unveiling of Pelosi’s official portrait.
The waterworks started earlier, though, as Boehner recounted how his daughters had asked him to “tell the speaker how much we admire her.”
Pelosi announced last month that she was stepping down from her House leadership post, clearing the way for a new generation of Democrats to take over after nearly two decades of her calling the shots.
Boehner rose through the ranks of House Republican leadership at roughly the same time as Pelosi, career trajectories that would pit them against each other as the White House flip-flopped from the George W. Bush Administration to the Barack Obama years.
That meant fighting about everything from foreign wars to the polarizing Affordable Care Act.
“But we were never disagreeable to each other,” Boehner said, citing a professional relationship that the two apparently kept above the partisan fray.
In some ways, Boehner said he’s still paying for his affection for the California Democrat. He noted that he still gets grief from Republicans for planting a kiss on Pelosi when he took that gavel back from her over a decade ago.
She handled the career change like a champ then, Boehner said, and he seemed to believe she’ll be fine with whatever comes next too.
“You’re one tough cookie,” Boehner said, which made the crowd burst into applause.