Boehner Turns Down Air Force One Ride To Tucson For RNC Cocktail Party

This just seems odd to me:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) turned down an offer by President Barack Obama to travel on Air Force One to Arizona for a memorial service on behalf of the victims of Saturday’s shooting, a decision that has upset some Democrats.

Boehner is instead scheduled to attend a reception on Wednesday night on behalf of Maria Cino, a former top House GOP aide who is seeking the Republican National Committee chairmanship. Boehner is backing Cino’s challenge to current RNC Chairman Michael Steele.


Senior Democrats – who to date had been impressed with Boehner’s response to the Arizona tragedy – expressed surprise at what they saw as an unmistakable misstep by the new speaker: appearing at a partisan political event on the same night as the the president, first lady Michelle Obama, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Arizona congressional delegation come together at the memorial service for the victims of an attack that nearly took the life of a member of the House. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was critically wounded in Saturday’s attack, while six other people died and a dozen more were wounded.

“It is disrespectful for Speaker Boehner to skip joining the President’s and bipartisan congressional delegation to the Tucson Memorial so he could host a Washington D.C. cocktail party for RNC members,” said a Democratic leadership aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Frankly, I’d assumed all week that Boehner, as Speaker, would be present at the service for an event that was, we now know, a planned assassination attempt against a member of the House of Representatives. I think it was a mis-step for him not to go.

FILED UNDER: Congress, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. athiest hater says:
  2. John425 says:

    Actually, Boehner should be saluted for not adding to the sideshow pep rally cum memorial service. The Obamanuts handed out T-shirts fer crissake!

  3. Tlaloc says:

    Yeah this one does seem particularly blatant. Especially with the GOP, the same group that invented the K street machine to support righty lobbyists, trying to straight-faced claim a mantle of austerity. In addition this really doesn’t seem to help the GOP’s image as being reflexively opposed to anything obama does. It might even hurt the right on the claim that all the violent rhetoric helps foster such violence. It gives a certain impression that GOP leaders are saying the shootig just wasn’t that big a deal. The attempted assassination of a political rival just isn’t the kind of thing you skip a fundraiser over…

  4. Pug says:

    Athiest Hater,

    Maybe that moron Jim Hoft (Gateway Pundit) should have checked with Gifford’s doctors before he posted another lie for the gullible..

  5. Jay Tea says:

    I read an interesting explanation for Boehner staying in DC, which cited two factors:

    1) The House was having its own observation for the victims, and as Speaker, it was appropriate for him to stay there.

    2) Obama in Arizona, Biden in Pakistan/Afghanistan/Iraq/wherever, Hillary Clinton out of the country as well… shouldn’t SOMEONE in the presidential line of succession be in/around DC? (Yes, I’m discounting President Pro Tem Daniel Inouye — he’s 86, for pete’s sake. I don’t recall the president pro tem was a viable president in terms of succession.)