Former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (R-Ohio) says he called Fox News host Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityTucker Carlson extends influence on GOP McCarthy says he won't cooperate with 'illegitimate' Jan. 6 probe Jan. 6 panel fires back at Jordan over refusal to cooperate MORE "a nut" during a phone call in 2015.
"Places like Fox News were creating the wrong incentives," Boehner recalls in an essay adapted from his upcoming book published Friday in Politico Magazine.
"Sean Hannity was one of the worst. I’d known him for years, and we used to have a good relationship. But then he decided he felt like busting my ass every night on his show. So one day, in January of 2015, I finally called him and asked: 'What the hell?' I wanted to know why he kept bashing House Republicans when we were actually trying to stand up to Obama."
“Well, you guys don’t have a plan,” Boehner said Hannity "whined" to him.
“Look,” Boehner says he told him, “our plan is pretty simple: we’re just going to stand up for what we believe in as Republicans.”
"I guess that wasn’t good enough for him," Boehner wrote. "The conversation didn’t progress very far. At some point I called him a nut. Anyway, it’s safe to say our relationship never got any better."
In a tweet Friday morning, Hannity responded to Boehner's public recounting of the 2015 conversation.
"John Boehner will go down in history as one of the worst Republican speakers in history. He’s weak, timid and what’s up with all the crying John?" Hannity said. "There was not a single time I was around him when he didn’t just reek of cigarette smoke and wine breath. I’m glad he’s finally found his true calling in life in the 'weed industry.'"
Hannity teased he would have more to say about Boehner's during his nightly program on Monday.
Boehner also discussed longtime Fox News chief Roger Ailes and Fox News Chairman Rupert Murdoch in the essay, saying Ailes got "swept up" in conspiracies about former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCould the coming 'red wave' election become a 'red tsunami'? Bottom line Barack Obama wishes a happy 58th birthday to 'best friend' Michelle MORE and Murdoch "cared about ratings and the bottom line."
"When I was first elected to Congress, we didn’t have any propaganda organization for conservatives, except maybe a magazine or two like National Review," Boehner said. "The only people who used the internet were some geeks in Palo Alto. There was no Drudge Report. No Breitbart. No kooks on YouTube spreading dangerous nonsense like they did every day about Obama."
"And of course the truly nutty business about his birth certificate," Boehner writes talking about the birther conspiracy theories spread about Obama.
"People really had been brainwashed into believing Barack Obama was some Manchurian candidate planning to betray America. Mark LevinMark Reed LevinTucker Carlson extends influence on GOP Glenn Beck says he has COVID-19 for second time Trump draws attention with admission he 'fired Comey' MORE was the first to go on the radio and spout off this crazy nonsense. It got him ratings, so eventually he dragged Hannity and Rush [Limbaugh] to Looneyville along with him."
Ailes "was not immune to this," Boehner wrote, calling the late Ailes "a longtime friend."
"He got swept into the conspiracies and the paranoia and became an almost unrecognizable figure," the former Speaker said, referencing Ailes's concerns that he was being monitored by the federal government.
Boehner said that Murdoch struck him as "a businessman."
"I have no idea what the relationship between Ailes and Murdoch was like, or if Ailes ever would go off on these paranoid tangents during meetings with his boss," Boehner wrote. "But Murdoch must have thought Ailes was good for business, because he kept him in his job for years."
During a separate portion of his writings published Friday, Boehner suggested that amid such "toxic" opposition from some media outlets and critics on Capitol Hill, he understood why Obama might not have had incentives to reach across the aisle.
"How do you find common cause with people who think you are a secret Kenyan Muslim traitor?" he asked.
-Updated 12:17 p.m.