House Speaker John Boehner held what might be his last press conference ever on Tuesday, and made sure to clear out his brain of all remaining metaphors, tears, and Freedom Caucus–inspired dismissive eye-rolls while relaying the news that he had achieved his final mission — getting a budget deal and a debt-limit increase.
"I made clear a month ago when I announced that I was leaving, that I wanted to do my best to clean the barn," he said. I didn’t want [the incoming Speaker] to walk into a dirty barn full of you know what. I’ve done my best to try to clean it up."
It did not seem like Boehner was referring to the same "you know what" as the kind Senator Chuck Grassley finds at his favorite Dairy Queen.
Boehner also said that he agreed with Representative Paul Ryan, Boehner’s likely replacement, who said that the process by which the budget deal was reached “stinks.”
“I’m in full agreement,” Boehner told reporters. “It stinks. This is not the way to run a railroad.”
It was not clear if the dirty barn was at the railroad or on a locomotive — which would explain why it was so difficult for Boehner to clean it up. If the barn is on a train, according to Boehner, it has also been trapped in a dark tunnel. When asked about how he was feeling, with only three days until retirement, Boehner replied, “I feel pretty good about where I am. I like the fact that I see light at end of the tunnel.”
No one ever said acquiring a career’s worth of folksy expressions made you precise. Too be fair, Boehner is not the only politician who has deployed a menagerie of metaphors to try and explain this tumultuous week.
“We’re in a box here,” Senator Lindsey Graham said of the deal, which is expected to pass despite some conservative resistance. Senator Ted Cruz called the deal “complete and utter surrender,” adding that “John Boehner’s golden parachute will certainly cement his legacy, but it is a slap in the face to conservatives who rose up across the country in 2014 on a promise that we would stop the disastrous runaway spending and debt in Washington.” Representative Louie Gohmert added, “I identify more with one of my friends, who said, ‘I didn’t know when Boehner cleaned out the barn, I’d get so much manure on me.’”
When a reporter told Boehner about Gohmert’s remark, he laughed and unleashed an epic eye-roll. “May God bless him,” he responded.
Boehner also teared up a bit during the presser while talking about raising money for scholarships. “Most of you know I get pretty wound up when I talk about education,” Boehner said. His fellow Republicans gave him a new golf cart with a MR SPKR license plate as a good-bye present. Boehner is scheduled to give a farewell speech on Thursday.
Although the House plans to elect a new House Speaker on Thursday, it is not clear if they have also made plans to appoint someone to sing the official Boehner Birthday Song after he retires, too.