Former House Speaker John Boehner, whose tenure was cut short with the rise of the Tea Party, recently told Politico that there are “Nazis” serving in the U.S. Congress — along with some very nice people.
> “We’ve got some of the smartest people in America who serve in the Congress, and we’ve got some of the dumbest”, Mr Boehner said. “We have some of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet, and some that are Nazis”.
> The Ohio Republican and former Speaker of the House talked candidly about his former congressional colleagues in a lengthy article.
> After presiding over a caucus fractured by the rise of the Tea Party, which propelled multiple challenges to his leadership, Mr Boehner ultimately stepped down.
Boehner also said President Donald Trump is a “populist” who doesn’t have “an ideological bone in his body”, but he wouldn’t say Trump is racist.
> “I do not believe that he is a racist. I do not believe that he is a white supremacist,” Mr Boehner told POLITICO Magazine. “He has clearly done some things to lead people who never liked him to say those things about him.”
The former congressman’s use of the term “Nazis” continues a running theme in current American politics, particularly as white supremacists and other alt-right figures have gained prominence, some even rising to the level of the White House.
> Former White House adviser Stephen Bannon, who helped manage Mr Trump’s campaign and for months served as a top aide before stepping down, has returned to his role managing Breitbart News, which he once proclaimed a “platform for the alt-right”.
> In August, protesters including the KKK and Neo-Nazis marched on Charlottesville, Virginia to demonstrate against the removal of a statue of confederate general Robert E Lee. After a car plowed into a crowd of counterprotestors, killing a woman, Mr Trump faced widespread criticism for saying there was "blame on both sides". That led Rep Maxine Waters, a California Democrat and fierce antagonist of Mr Trump, to call the White House the “White Supremacists' House.”