By Russell Berman - 01/08/14 11:42 AM EST
Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerDem drops out of race for Boehner's old seat Conservative allies on opposite sides in GOP primary fight Clinton maps out first 100 days MORE (R-Ohio) on Wednesday declined to engage in a war of words with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates over his stinging criticism of Congress as “truly ugly.”
“Congress is best viewed from a distance — the farther the better — because up close, it is truly ugly,” Gates writes in Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, according to an excerpt published in The Wall Street Journal. “I saw most of Congress as uncivil, incompetent at fulfilling their basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned and prone to put self (and re-election) before country.”
Boehner was asked to respond to Gates at a news conference Wednesday.
“He’s entitled to his comments under the First Amendment just like anyone else,” the Speaker responded.
He was not asked ask about the former Pentagon chief’s critique of President Obama or Vice President Biden.