The former top GOP leader is “one of the worst Republican speakers in history,” who reeks of “cigarette smoke and wine breath,” Hannity wrote in a Twitter tirade.
In excerpts published Friday from his upcoming book, titled On the House: A Washington Memoir, Boehner dishes on what he calls the GOP’s “crazy caucus” and how conservative media—specifically including Hannity—helped embolden right-wing ideologues such as Sen. Ted Cruz and former Rep. Michelle Bachmann, eventually paving the way for President Donald Trump.
In response to the released excerpts, Hannity took to Twitter on Friday to fire back at the former GOP leader.
“John Boehner will go down in history as one of the worst Republican speakers in history,” Hannity tweeted. “He’s weak, timid and what’s up with all the crying John? There was not a single time I was around him when he didn’t just reek of cigarette smoke and wine breath.”
The Fox News host also snarked that he was glad Boehner “finally found his true calling in life in the ‘weed industry,’” referencing the former speaker’s post-congressional career as a pitchman for a marijuana investment firm.
Hannity further promised that he would have more to say on the subject when he is back on the air Monday.
The Fox star seemed to be reacting to book excerpts quoted by Axios, in which Boehner wrote that while they had once been on good terms, Hannity at one point decided to place a target on his back, which resulted in the disintegration of their relationship.
“Places like Fox News were creating the wrong incentives,” he wrote. “Sean Hannity was one of the worst. I’d known him for years, and we used to have a good relationship. But then he decided he felt like busting my ass every night on his show. ... At some point I called him a nut. Anyway, it’s safe to say our relationship never got any better.”
Elsewhere in the book, Boehner complained that Fox News pushing birther conspiracies and fringe characters made his job as the top House Republican nearly impossible as he tried to rein in the antics of his own caucus. At one point, Boehner recalled in excerpts quoted by Axios, he confronted the late Fox News CEO Roger Ailes—who was ousted from the network in 2016 following multiple sexual misconduct allegations—and pleaded “with him to put a leash on some of the crazies he was putting on the air," only for Ailes to go down his own conspiratorial rabbit holes.
“When I put it to him like that, he didn’t have much to say,” Boehner wrote. “But he did go on and on about the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, which he thought was part of a grand conspiracy that led back to Hillary Clinton. Then he outlined elaborate plots by which George Soros and the Clintons and Obama (and whoever else came to mind) were trying to destroy him.”
Boehner also noted that Bachmann, described as a “lunatic” by the ex-speaker, once demanded that she be placed on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, only for Boehner to turn her down. In response, Bachmann threatened to go on Hannity’s show and say “this is how John Boehner is treating the people who made it possible for the Republicans to take back the House.”
He added, “I wasn’t the one with the power, she was saying. I just thought I was. She had the power now. She was right, of course.”
This isn’t the first time that Boehner has called out Hannity in the press, only for Hannity to respond in kind. In a lengthy Politico profile published in October 2017, Boehner unleashed on right-wing media, blaming figures such as Hannity and radio host Mark Levin for further polarizing America.
“I had a conversation with Hannity, probably about the beginning of 2015. I called him and said, ‘Listen, you’re nuts.’ We had this really blunt conversation,” Boehner told Politico at the time. “Things were better for a few months, and then it got back to being the same-old, same-old. Because I wasn’t going to be a right-wing idiot.”
In response, the Fox News star insisted that “conversation never happened” and that the ex-speaker was “bitter,” all while asking Boehner if he was “sober when you said this.”