Boehner: I did not say Trump's 'policies were a disaster'

Boehner: I did not say Trump's 'policies were a disaster'
© Greg Nash

Former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader Scaramucci compares Trump to Jonestown cult leader: 'It's like a hostage crisis inside the White House' MORE (R-Ohio) on Wednesday tried to walk back comments he made last week that Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE’s presidency has been a “complete disaster.”

BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader Scaramucci compares Trump to Jonestown cult leader: 'It's like a hostage crisis inside the White House' MORE addressed his remarks in an appearance at the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers Employee Leadership Forum in Colorado Springs, in a video first posted by Politico.

The ex-Speaker said people have “gotten carried away” in interpreting his comments about his longtime friend and golf partner.

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It’s not that Trump’s policies or his agenda are a “disaster,” he says. Rather, Boehner thinks Trump has been hobbled by "unforced errors."

“I did not say that the president’s policies were a disaster. I did not say that the president’s agenda was a disaster,” Boehner said.

“What I was referring to was the execution of the president’s agenda and the president’s policies. And frankly I think there have been a number of missteps, unforced errors that the president has made and I think the White House would agree that they’ve had their share of mistakes as the president learns to be the president.”

Boehner gave a keynote address last week at financial services giant KPMG’s annual Global Energy Conference, where he said Trump’s presidency so far has been rocky.

Boehner said that Trump “did what he could” with healthcare, but his presidency still faces big problems. 

“Everything else he’s done has been a complete disaster,” Boehner said. “He’s still learning how to be president.”

Boehner’s comments had drawn ire from the White House. Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino, posted a tweet saying “John Boehner, is the disaster.”

Boehner also appeared pessimistic about congressional Republicans’ ability to enact tax reform, one of their top legislative priorities this year. 

“I was a little more optimistic about it early in the year; now my odds are 60/40,” Boehner said. “The border adjustment tax is deader than a doornail. Tax reform is just a bunch of happy talk.”

Earlier this year, Boehner, who led dozens of votes in the House to repeal ObamaCare, poured cold water as well on the GOP’s plans to repeal and replace the healthcare law.

“[Congressional Republicans are] going to fix ObamaCare — I shouldn’t call it repeal-and-replace, because it’s not going to happen,” Boehner said at a healthcare conference in Florida