Resigning House Speaker John Boehner “was the right man at the right time,” the Spokane Republican who served on his leadership team said Friday.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who was often at the lectern with Boehner when House GOP leaders made announcements or answered questions about key policy issues, rose to prominence in the Republican hierarchy with Boehner at the helm. Currently the House Republican Conference chairwoman, the No. 4 spot, she is the highest- ranking woman in GOP leadership.
McMorris Rodgers did not return a request to her staff Friday for an interview about the shakeup, but in a prepared statement she called Boehner a friend who supported her and visited Eastern Washington.
She said Republicans reached their strongest majority in 80 years with him as a leader, cut spending, reformed entitlement programs and protected against tax increases.
As rumors of Boehner’s possible departure swirled earlier this month, McMorris Rodgers was mentioned by some political websites as someone who would move up in the ensuing shuffle. She declined to seek a higher post in 2014 when then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary election.
Earlier this week she said reports that she was positioning herself for a run for majority leader are “a mischaracterization and misinformed.”
An Idaho Republican who clashed with Boehner on a regular basis likewise praised him, saying Boehner is a leader who served with distinction and grace.
Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador joined 12 Republicans who abstained from voting for him as speaker in 2013 and challenged Boehner’s choice for majority leader in 2014. On Friday, Labrador issued a conciliatory statement.
“Though I differed with Speaker Boehner on the pace of reform, I respect and admire him,” Labrador said in the statement. “As for succession, today is not the time for such talk. But I am committed to supporting leaders who will keep our promise to the American people to fight for real change in Washington.”
Idaho’s other House member, Republican Mike Simpson, was a longtime Boehner supporter. He said Boehner acted with integrity and in the nation’s best interest and his replacement will need wisdom, humility, a willingness to listen and the courage to do the right thing.
“This is especially difficult when you are leading a fractious party and divided nation,” Simpson said.
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