Portrait Unveiling of Former Speaker of the House John Boehner CSPAN November 22, 2019 11:04pm-11:46pm EST
a more stereotypical met romney republicanism would. african-american, latino, working-class that would find this iteration more appealing. warningalists discuss a which looks behind the scenes of the donald trump presidency from an anonymous source. >> president trump is the one who is the ultimate decider. and of course, that the job of any president, but he really follows his own instincts on everything from foreign policy, which we have seen so recently with the syria decision, to the marketing that joe was just talking about. i mean, he is his own press secretary. he is his own communications director. he is his own national security advisor. >> people in congress have kind of given away their power and authority to the other end of pennsylvania avenue fairly steadily over the last couple of decades. one way to not complain anonymously is to do something
about it. >> watch book tv every weekend on c-span2. speakeresday, house speaker nancy pelosi led a portrait unveiling honoring former speaker john boehner, who announced he would step down in september, 2015. his resignation took place the following month, the day after pope francis addressed congress. this is 40 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable nancy pelosi, speaker of the united states house of representatives. speaker pelosi: good afternoon everyone. as speaker of the house, it is my official and personal honor to welcome friends of speaker john boehner to the u.s. capitol on this historic day. members and friends from both
sides of the aisle is a signal -- a testament to the respect that all have a for john -- all have for john. speaker gingrich and speaker ryan are both here. [applause] and we warmly welcome and extend our gratitude to debbie, lindsay and tricia and the entire boehner family for sharing john with this congress and with our country. now it is my privilege to invite father conroy to deliver the invocation. >> ok. i am surrounded by quadrophonic speakers. [laughter]
dear god, we give you thanks for the proceedings of this day. and for speaker john boehner and his place in history as the 53rd speaker of the people's house. we thank you for his many years of faithful attention to the people's house as its speaker. our nation will always be grateful for his leadership and aware of the important contribution speaker boehner made to the greatness of our nation. bless our time here together on this joyous occasion. in the course of the ceremonies, may all be reminded of our shared citizenship and the importance of public service in the advancement of our experiment of constitutional democracy.
>> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable kevin >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable kevin mccarthy, republican leader of the united states house of representatives. >> good afternoon. it is an honor to be here. with all the turmoil going in washington, john boehner brought us all back together. [laughter] before i begin, i want to say a special thanks to john's wife, debbie, and to his children and grandchildren. i spent many hours with your father and sometimes it was a smoke-filled room. [laughter] but he always spoke of you.
he always spoke of you. from the earliest days, the capitol building has showcased america's values through art. few individuals embody these values more than john does. think for a moment of the american dream. a young boy growing up with 11 siblings and sweeping the floors of his dad's bar. nothing prepared him more for the job of being speaker. [laughter] in congress, john served in several leadership roles and as committee chair. in modern history, he was among the best prepared in history to be elected to become speaker. and this preparation served john well, and our country. history will be very kind to this man. from the time john received that gavel, until this year when
i had to return it, the federal government was spending less in discretionary than it was when john was first handed the gavel. i do not know if they will ever happen again. it has already been broken. john secured new educational opportunities through charter schools for underprivileged children in d.c. and across the country. he showed his love for freedom by commissioning the freedom foyer in the capitol which includes the bust of winston churchill. he did this while skillfully managing diverse views and personalities. [laughter] you know who they are. [laughter] i saw this firsthand when we worked together to earn the trust of the american people to lead congress. i spent a lot of time with john
and will always be grateful for the opportunity he gave me. i met john for the first time as a young staffer, when he was on the oversight committee in north carolina. in a contested election. we became friends. when i first got elected to congress as a freshman, i remember john calling me into his office, when he was minority leader. he wanted to offer me the job of being the platform committee chair that year. i remember turning to him and asking him, did i do some thing wrong? >> [laughter] he gave me a day to think about it and i took the job. our member calling him and he said we're going to win the majority. i remember calling him. we want to develop a project that would actually make a pledge to america for what we promised to do and would carry out. john was right. america was hungry for that. i remember taking john to the first tea party rally.
it happened on tax day, on april 15. john heard something others were not hearing across this country. and he wanted to make a pledge that we would govern differently. he was right. we captured 63 seats that year. john became the speaker of the house. if you look at this career, there is a lot of victories and there are some stumbles. our life is like a book, and there are times in the chapter when we stumble that it may be the end of that chapter. there are many that would have left or retired going through some of the struggles john endured. you've never seen him complain, he always had that smile on his face. and he endured. and he rose to the occasion that many did not think possible. to recapture the house. but not just for a party, but for a republic and a country. i applaud you for the work you have done.
in john's case, what i learned, in all those days of being speaker, and some were tough. john has the patience of job. for job, that meant suffering and never losing faith in god or cursing him. in john's case, that suffering was guiding our party and direction.a new but john never lost his faith in god, his country or his party and along the way, there have been a few tears. [laughter] but i will tell you this, whenever you saw the tears on his face, he was usually talking about children or freedom. because he cared deeply about their future and about ours. john put his heart and soul into preserving the american dream, particularly through education. he wanted everyone to have the opportunities that a good education creates.
we will add this portrait to the gallery of speakers. many people will pass by it, but what will it tell us? well, a portrait lasts a long time, but a legacy of change lasts far longer. it grows from generation to generation, like compounding interest or a snowball rolling down a hill. john, your legacy is right here in the people's house. this portrait is more than a tribute to one man. it is on internal reminder of the values he stood for, freedom, hard work and never quitting. those are the same qualities that theodore roosevelt spoke of man in the arena, and john lived up to them. the portrait speaks to us as clearly as when john would speak to us from the floor of the house. it is the same message we would
hear when he would comment about our crooked tie or wrinkled suit jacket. representing the people is the most sacred responsibility an american can have. john took pride in how he appeared before the american public because he took pride in them. he was proud to be their representative and he showed and understood the responsibilities it entailed. this is what i will hear when i walk by this portrait, and i will take pride in knowing that the american people know what john stood for. i know john does not put much stake in fanfare. if you asked him, he never wanted this day to come and never cared about a portrait. his approach was to get to the point quickly and emphasize it strongly. like president lincoln at gettysburg. john could be brief, but make a big impact on people's lives. for all of john's great accomplishments, funding, opening and changing the v.a., transforming a country and listening to a voice others
would not, there are some small things that still live on, like the boehner birthday song. [laughter] fittingly, you may know that last sunday was his 70th birthday. i would like to end with you joining with me in singing to john his birthday song, the boehner way. >> ♪ this is your birthday song, it does not last too long. ♪ hey! ♪ i know that your portrait and i know that your legacy will last generations. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, the honorable charles e. schumer, democratic leader of the united states senate. >> when you are chairman of the
rules committee, as i was in 2012, you plan the presidential inauguration and associated festivities, including the congressional luncheon, an honor but a laborious task. without naming any names, several dignitaries had preferences about where they liked to sit, when they would like to speak and how, exactly, they would like their food prepared. when i asked speaker boehner, he replied, i am one of 12 children. it does not even need to be warm. [laughter] despite rising to one of the highest offices in our country, john boehner never forgot where he came from. he carried that modesty and sense of perspective with him. even the speaker of the house can sing zippety doo dah at a press conference. colleagues noted,
john wore his emotions on his sleeve. he sometimes got overwhelmed and not always at the times you would expect. colleagues noted, a politico headline oncen his wondered, why does john boehner cry so much, before listing a moments forsty eyed the speaker. listening to a song on st. patrick's day, before america the beautiful, after a tribute to golf legend arnold palmer. i have some regret that john left the political scene when he did. endured a few more years i never would have become crying chuck schumer. [laughter] the president labeled me, and initially was parenthetical, as fake tears schumer, because i was weepy when we had immigrants whose families were being split
up on stage. and trump said, i know schumer, those are fake tears, he never cries. actually it is well known in my family, when i took my daughters to see "free willy," i started weeping uncontrollably when he escapes. my daughters ran out of the theater. i'm not going to say speaker boehner and i agreed on most issues or even many. but he always exercised humility and a sense of humor and understood the nature of compromise. he knew that in a divided government, you don't get 100% of what you want all the time. sometimes he knew you do not even get what you want from your own side of the aisle. it is not hard to understand john's love of cigarettes, red wine, and the occasional serenity prayer. i believe if his interest in legalizing marijuana had started
earlier, he might have enjoyed an even more relaxing speakership. [laughter] he's an easy subject, you know. in all seriousness, speaker boehner was always a good, a decent man. he worked to guide the house under the most difficult of circumstances. we thank him for his service. we are glad to see he is so enjoying the next chapter in his life. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable mitch mcconnell, majority leader of the united states senate. senator mcconnell: well, it is
great to be here today with all of you for this wonderful occasion. i have been hard-pressed to think what words of tribute could possibly be meaningful to a stone cold stoic like john boehner. in situations like this, you can imagine some honorees may be getting emotional or choked up, but not john. not somebody so unemotional, so completely unflappable. you could set aside all john's other accomplishments and he would still deserve to be remembered forever as the best deal and negotiator with the americaner face in political history. yes, speaker boehner has always worn his heart on his sleeve. i think it is actually one of the biggest reasons he earned so much respect and affection
throughout his career. even from those who strongly disagreed with him. we all remember john arrived in 1991 as a hardcharging young conservative. he and six other freshmen decided to endear themselves to the old guard by immediately calling out the house banking scandal. john kept right on shaking things up and speaking his mind for a quarter of a century. he fought for reforms. he helped shape and lead his conference. and he served the american people as speaker of the house. steering the institution through a turbulent time with patriotism, principal, and graciousness. i will never forget how john once explained the job of speaker for the press. here's what he said. i grew up in a bar, mopped floors, did dishes, tended bar.
you had to learn to deal with every character that comes in the place. and trust me, i need all the lessons i learned growing up to do this job. [laughter] that is the john boehner magic. with john, you had the red wine, the trattoria, the smokes, the golf. in some ways, it's almost like a caricature of a powerful leader come to life walked right off the page of some political cartoon. but you also have this remarkably forthright, goodhearted and genuine person. one of the most down to earth individuals this town has ever seen. many have observed john embodies the american dream, as others have said, one of 12 kids living in a one bedroom house and wiping down a bar in a factory town grows up to walk the
corridors of power and actually gets his portrait hung right here in the u.s. capitol. but that is not the whole story. the story is not just that john climbed from a humble start to wield all this power. the real reason why john has lived the american dream is how he used that power, working to help other children write new stories of their own. john knew in his bones that he was speaker of the house for a reason. john knew he was speaker because small factory towns do not fight for themselves and inner-city school children who need school choice do not fight for themselves. the american idea does not fight for itself. all of them need champions, and in you, mr. speaker, they all had one. congratulations on this historic honor. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable nancy pelosi, speaker of the united states house of representatives. speaker pelosi: back here again. speaker boehner is a great patriot who has dedicated his life to our country. it is only fitting that we celebrate his legacy here in this pantheon where great americans are immortalized in marble and bronze. now his portrait will be in the speaker's lobby as an inspiring, enduring monument to the contributions he made to this country. i was trying to think of occasions when i saw john crying. i was thinking of occasions when i did not see john crying. i think he was crying when he gave me the gavel of speaker of the house. [laughter]
being the first woman speaker, it was emotional, wasn't it, john? in john's farewell speech on the house floor, he said, the people's house is the great embodiment of the american dream. all of the speakers have addressed that aspect of john's life. how appropriate that john served as speaker of the house because john is the personification of the american dream. in his story, we are reminded of the promise of america. that a hard-working son of an ohio bar man can rise to be speaker of the house. as speaker, john was a formidable spokesperson for his party and his cause. he sought common ground where he could, held his ground where he could not. he always understood the value of relationships and consensus building.
he always was about something i he always was about something i advise other members to be, he was always a person of his word. and friendship never left his voice in all of our negotiations. we will never forget how he worked with ted kennedy and george miller, two liberal lions, under the leadership of president george w. bush, to pass landmark education legislation. we all had our differences but i remember i respected his commitment to america and to this institution. we all remember how john made the visit of pope francis such a meaningful and beautiful experience for all of us, don't we, allister? and how wonderful today to see young allister here with zachary. allister was just six weeks old when he was blessed by the pope that day, with clarity, beauty and moral urgency, pope francis called on us to be better stewards of god's creation and to be instruments of god's
peace. had that clarity too in everything he did. thanks to john's leadership, the holy father's message of hope, peace and dialogue will be a blessing and an inspiration to our congress and the country for many years to come. in his farewell speech, well, not quite farewell because we have another one now -- but in that space, john often spoke of the namesake of his home city, the great roman general cincinnatus, a farmer who answer the call of his nation to lead and then surrendered his power to return to the home he loved. john, the congress and the country have been strengthened by your decision to answer the call of our nation when you did. and now, we wish you all the best, as you enjoy your
retirement, -- i do not know if that is quite the word for it. now i have the privilege of inviting up to the podium here, speaker boehner's family to join in the unveiling of his portrait. debbie, thank you so much. and alister and zachary will be joining us as well, the future, the future, here they come. let us welcome the family to the podium. [applause] alister... >> hmm, hmm, hmm. [chuckling] >> oh, man
of me. she put a box of tissues down here just in case. which is -- i don't know -- we will see how i do. madame speaker, thank you for hosting this event today. i want to thank my colleagues that i served in the leadership with, and our distinguished guests, friends and family. and let me say thanks to all of you for being here today. let me thank my family, deb, lindsay, tricia, jake, dominic, allister, and zach for being here and being supportive all these years. [laughter] the hubbards who made this portrait a reality with their generosity. they cannot be here today but i cannot thank them enough. let me also thank the artist,
ron, whose work can be found in the national portrait gallery. he has done work for some of our nation's top officials including some of our past presidents. you may be aware that one of our past presidents, my friend, 43, george w. bush, also painted a portrait of me. for the record, that is a different portrait than this one. [laughter] that one will not be hanging in the speaker's lobby. but it does hang in our living room in our home in ohio. and i think debbie and i want to send our thanks to president bush and laura for their wonderful gift of friendship. let me thank those who are not with us today, and people without whom this journey would not have been possible. my late former chief of staff, paula and her mother. my former and first chief of jackson, and his
father and late mother. two great american families who have sacrificed to support me and everything we were trying to achieve. now let me thank my friends and my former colleagues that i have served in this institution with. whether you are a republican or democrat, whether you voted for me for speaker or for somebody else, it was an honor to serve with you. let me thank the people of ohio's eighth congressional district who sent me to the u.s. house as their representative for 25 years. i have had a few years now to reflect on my time and what it meant to work under this dome. it was a chance to learn from people i admired. the late henry hyde. and a guy named john danville. it was a chance to form
friendships with people on both sides of the aisle and both chambers. many of you are here. real friendship and close friendships like that of my friend saxby chambliss and richard burr and tom. i remember the day i was first sworn in as speaker. i was really doing well, i had my act together, my chin up. i was up on the rostrum waiting for the applause to die down and i looked to my left and i see chambliss, burr, and latham, my three best buds. and it was over. [laughter] it was a chance to change our fellow government. first as the gang of seven, closing the house bank later
with speaker gingrich and the contract for america. and later with a pledge to america and our mantra, where are the jobs? which provided the governing agenda for my speakership. it was a chance to make laws with people like ted kennedy and george miller, two democratic colleagues, where we were able to work together without compromising on our principles. i have to say, working with senator harry reid for many years was an opportunity, again, to work across the aisle to get things done on behalf of the american people. many of you on both sides of the aisle i can mention, but i do not want to ruin your career while you are still in office. [laughter] it was even a chance to honor some of my personal heroes, jack nicklaus, arnold palmer, and to welcome a pope to the u.s.
capitol to address a joint meeting of congress for the first time. but i never really wanted this to be about me. you know, the closer i got to the speakership, i came to realize this. i remember the weeks leading up to the 2010 election. "time magazine" wanted me to sit and pose for a cover shot. while i was honored, i declined. they had the editor call my staff and plead the case and i declined again. finally, they sent a photographer to chase me around ohio in the weekend before the 2010, and finally grabbed a candidate shot of me and put it on the cover. it turned out fine. i kinda feel the same way about this portrait today. it is my image that will be on the wall, but it is my hope that when our fellow citizens see this portrait in the speaker's lobby for decades to come, they will think not about me but about the things that we stood for during my time here in the
capitol. it does not cost anything to be nice. toike to think we were able disagree without being disagreeable. i like to think we tried to do the right things for the right reasons. and i like to think we served with our priorities in line, mindful of our children's future, especially when it comes to the challenge of our nation's debt. sometimes we fall short of these things but we always tried. it is important that those in office keep trying. i believe in an america where anybody can be anything they want to be. my life is somewhat proof of that. i hope that when my portrait hangs in the capital, it will not hang as a tribute to me, but as a tribute to that particular quality of this great country, we call it the american dream. the american dream is alive. it is alive because so many have sacrificed to keep it alive.
and that's what i hope we honor today and i know i do. you foro thank each of being here today, for being who you are and for being here to help me celebrate this great day. god bless you and god bless this great capitol, and god bless the united states of america. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing as reverend
patrick conroy, chaplain of the united states house of representatives, delivers the benediction. reverend conroy: let us pray. loving god, we thank you that we have been honored to gather in this august place. to honor the 53rd speaker of the people's house. we thank you for all who spoke this day, and ask that all might be inspired by the service of speaker boehner and all those who work in our nation's capitol. may we stand ready to respond as we are able in whatever way we ought as responsible citizens. god, bless our speaker, our friend john boehner. bless the
congress he so honorably served in, and bless the united states of america. amen. >> please be seated. ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats for the departure of the official party. on behalf of the speaker, we welcome you to join us for the reception in the rayburn room, which will begin momentarily. ♪
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