Former House Speaker John Boehner, famed for his tan, love of wine and ability to cry almost spontaneously, showed some things never change Wednesday, when he had to choke back sobs during the unveiling of outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s official portrait at the US Capitol.
Boehner, a Republican from Ohio who resigned from the House in 2015, turned emotional as he spoke about the California Democrat in Statuary Hall.
“You’ve been unfailingly gracious to me, to my family and, frankly, my team here in Washington,” said Boehner, 73. “And Madam Speaker, I have to say, my girls told me, ‘Tell the Speaker how much we admire her.’”
At that, Boehner’s lips began to quiver and he began sobbing.
Following a round of applause, Boehner composed himself and joked: “If you couldn’t tell, my girls are Democrats.”
Earlier, Boehner remarked on the political differences between him and Pelosi and said they often disagreed “but we were never disagreeable to each other. As you might have heard me say before, you can disagree without being disagreeable.”
Pelosi, 82, is the first woman to serve as House speaker, wielding the gavel once from 2007 to 2011 and again from 2019.
She announced last month that she would not seek re-election as the Democratic leader in the chamber after Republicans won a majority in the Nov. 8 midterm elections — but said she will remain serving in the House and run for another term in her deep-blue San Francisco district.
Boehner succeeded Pelosi as speaker in 2011 and served four years in that post. He was succeeded by Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who held the gavel until Democrats regained the House majority in the 2018 midterms, handing the speaker’s gavel back to Pelosi.