Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan has little margin for error in Speaker vote Top Lobbyists 2016: Hired Guns The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ohio) on Thursday castigated the Obama presidency on a slew of issues, saying the White House was unprepared for, and often exacerbated, a series of crises at home and abroad.
Opening his weekly Capitol press conference, Boehner offered up a global tour of problematic flash points for the administration and blamed Obama for squandering U.S. gains in Iraq, the scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Internal Revenue Service, lackluster economic growth and the influx of immigrant children flooding at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Speaker and other congressional leaders met with Obama at the White House on the deteriorating situation in Iraq, and while he said he learned “a little bit,” it appeared to be less than the full strategy he was hoping the president would outline.
Boehner characterized Iraq in the context of what he described as a broader foreign policy failure by the administration.
“When you look, it’s not just Iraq,” he said. “It’s Libya, it’s Egypt, it’s Syria. The spread of terrorism has increased exponentially under this president’s leadership.”
Boehner said the U.S. could execute a counterterrorism strategy in Iraq without sending ground troops, but that he wanted to hear more from the president before weighing in on specific options.
On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Republicans spent nearly an hour slamming the president's foreign policy failures that "created a more dangerous world" instead of a safer one.
“The president has weakened the national security posture of the United States,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. “He’s displayed an inflexible commitment to policy positions that would erode America’s standing in the world. And he’s refused to change course as circumstances have changed.”
Boehner, like his fellow Republicans, blamed the administration for the flood of children immigrants from Central America.
“We’re seeing a humanitarian disaster, one of the administration’s own making,” he said. “The administration’s actions only serve to encourage more illegal crossings. It’s another situation that appears to have caught the administration flat-footed.”
— Ramsey Cox contributed.