Watch CBSN Live

How Cruz reacted when Boehner compared him to "Lucifer in the flesh"

Ted Cruz slams Donald Trump, John Boehner 04:03

John Boehner unleashed a barrage of insults at Republican presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz Wednesday, calling him "Lucifer in the flesh" and saying he had "never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch."

Cruz's response boils down to something like, Boehner? Boehner who?

Cruz, during an impromptu press conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana, replied to the critical remarks by denying that he ever knew the former House speaker, saying he'd "never had any substantive conversation with John Boehner in any respect."

"The interesting thing is he said 'that I've ever worked with,'" Cruz said of Boehner. "I've never worked with John Boehner. The truth of the matter is -- I don't know the man. I've met John Boehner two or three times in my life. If I have said 50 words in my life to John Boehner I'd be surprised, and every one of them has consisted of pleasantries."

Does Carly Fiorina even like Ted Cruz? 02:44

The Texas Republican blasted Boehner, who stepped down from his Congressional seat in September after a lengthy career in the House, as symptomatic of "everything that is wrong and corrupt with Washington."

"What Boehner is angry with me for isn't anything I've said to him -- I haven't said much of anything to him," Cruz said. "What Boehner is angry with me for is standing with the American people -- is energizing House conservatives to stand with the American people and actually honor the commitments we've made."

Cruz's claim that he's never spoken more than fifty words to Boehner is a dubious one, however.

As the Washington Post reported in 2014, Cruz was once Boehner's lawyer -- a fact Boehner divulged during an appearance on Jay Leno's "The Tonight Show."

"Ted Cruz used to be my attorney a long time ago. A good guy. I don't always agree with him, but he's a good guy," Boehner said in January of that year, when discussing the wildly unpopular 2013 government shutdown, which Cruz helped to orchestrate. (Retirement has made Boehner more blunt: "Lucifer" is a long way from "a good guy.")

Cruz, in his comments to reporters, later lamented how unproductive Congress had been under Boehner's leadership, ticking off a number of conservative policy positions that were never passed while Boehner was House speaker.

"What Boehner is angry with is that conservatives said if we promised to repeal Obamacare, let's actually stand up and repeal Obamacare," Cruz said. "What Boehner is angry with is if we said we promised to stop amnesty, let's actually honor our promises and stop amnesty. What Boehner is angry with is if we promised to stop the debt that is bankrupting our kids and grandkids, let's actually do something meaningful to honor those commitments."

Cruz then turned Boehner's comments into a primary election issue, painting his main opponent, Donald Trump, as near and dear to Boehner's heart.

"John Boehner in his remarks described Donald Trump as his texting and golfing buddy," Cruz told reporters. "So if you want someone that's a texting and golfing buddy -- if you're happy with John Boehner as speaker of the House and you want a president like John Boehner, Donald Trump is your man."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue