Boehner turns down invite to Rome
March 14th, 2013
12:13 PM ET
5 years ago

Boehner turns down invite to Rome

(CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner, the highest-ranking Catholic on Capitol Hill, said he was invited to attend the formal installation of Pope Francis with Vice President Joe Biden, but declined the offer.

Boehner said in a statement he "would like to be able to join the trip" but his schedule would not allow it.

"Unfortunately, my duties in the House next week – including hosting President Obama and the Prime Minister of Ireland at the Capitol on Tuesday, and the debate on the budget – make that impossible," he continued. "I wish the Vice President all the best in his journey, and hope he communicates the prayers and warm regards of every American, especially Catholics, to the first pope from the Americas."

Boehner said Wednesday he was pleased at how quickly the cardinals selected a new pope.

"I'm happy that they were able to come to a choice as quickly as they did," he said. "I think that reaching out beyond the traditional continent of our church is another big step in the right direction for the church."

Meanwhile, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in her weekly press conference Wednesday that she hopes to go and urged reporters to "stay tuned."

The congresswoman who represents San Francisco did, however, express excitement about the pope's new name. The pope chose his name after St. Francis of Assisi, who's also patron saint of San Francisco, she said.

She pointed to the bird that sat atop the Sistine Chapel chimney Wednesday, not long before white smoke came out to signal a pope had been chosen.

"Since St. Francis has always been surrounded by birds, we're reading a great deal into the symbolism of that," she said.

Filed under: Faith • John Boehner • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. James Klimaski

    Who is he kidding, too much work. Under Republican Leadership the House of Representatives has the lightest schedule for the year since Washington got air conditioning. More likely they is an important golf game.

    March 14, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Billster

    Somehow I think we can spare Boehner for a few days.

    March 14, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. Charles

    He's the 2nd highest. Vice President is 2nd in line, Speaker is 3rd. Beyond that, Malory and Jeff are obviously biased trolls. We complain that our senators don't spend enough time working on the budget then complain that they are declining papal visits to be able to keep working? You're hypocrites, just like our government leaders.

    March 14, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Rusty Krus

    Kaptain of the Klown Kar... TOOT TOOT!

    March 14, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    @charles, the weeper od the house is a national embarrassment. He might be third in line but he doesn't deserve to even be in congress.
    He probably has a golf game or two to attend which is more important to him along with his smokes and that big drink!
    Easter is coming up at which time congress will take over a week off. He can visit Rome at that time on his own (pardon me on all his lobbyists) dime!

    March 14, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Moose

    If it was bamman and the posse theyd already be packing, at least some one wants to fix our debt problem

    March 14, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. California Gary

    I can't imagine that the tan man will be missed by the new Pope. There will be plenty of other folks there that can cry on demand.........

    March 14, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. Pam from Iowa

    Boehner is a Catholic?? I thought he was an Atheist!

    March 14, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. Wake up People!

    Who is this drunk trying to kid? Work? The House has absolutely no idea of what the meaning of the word is....

    March 14, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Debbie

    LOL. Boehner doesn't want to go because his stance as a Catholic (along with Ryan) would be put into the light. The other issue is that the new Pope represents a sovereign nation and Boehner doesn't see the need to go??? The guy has plenty of time for tanning and golf.

    March 14, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. Boomer in Mo

    Probably did not want to miss any tanning parlor sessions.

    March 14, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. LIP

    It as good to see that we have at least one person in Congress that takes the job seriously. Everyone complains that the Republicans don't do anything and yet the Senate finally got around, after four years of doing nothing, to submitting a budget, although a ridiculous one at that.

    March 14, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. critical thinking

    I'm guessing that Michelle and the kids and the aunts and the cousins will take his spot.

    March 14, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. Al-NY,NY

    If he went to Rome, he couldn't be hitting the bars and tanning salons

    March 14, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    I would not have expected Boehner to accept the invite for the simple reason of the national security risk that it represents. It would not be wise to put #2 and #3 people in our government under the protection of one of the smallest militaries in the world, The Vatican Swiss Guard.

    But, Boehner, or someone else in the Obama administration, should have extended the invite to other Republicans.

    I pointed this out this morning, too, you know. It's a win-win for the administration to extend the invite. Let's not forget to observe exactly what Boehner will doing during the ceremonies that keeps him from attending. I guess he thinks it would look bad to his base. Actually, this should look bad to Christian Conservatives to see the top Republican put politics ahead of religion, most especially when said leader is Catholic.

    March 14, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. chupacabra

    He should have gone......He and his party need all the help they can get.

    March 14, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    As well he should. Tax dollars should not be used to fund political ties with religion.

    March 14, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. Ferret out the BS

    He kinda looks like my dog when I tell him we're going to the vet!

    March 14, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. Babyboomer

    Okay, I don't want to hear another word about President Obama not reach out to this clown. How is it that he can't spare the time to go to Rome. It's not like he would have been flying commercial. He would have been on Air Force II for goodness sakes. What a loser...

    March 14, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Boehner can't be perceived to be on the same goodwill mission as Joe Biden, or the attack dogs from the radical extremist faction of the republican house will tear him to shreds!

    March 14, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. rs

    All of those anti-abortion and anti-birth control bills, and no doubt several symbolic votes against the ACA will just have to tie Boehner to D.C.

    March 14, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel

    As well he should. Tax dollars should not be used to fund political ties with religion.
    Vatican City is technically an independent country, which invited the United States to attend the inauguration of their new leader. Boehner declined, but like I said above that it would be best if he didn't go. But, the Republcans cannot simply be a total no show, either. For homework, I suggest that you review who attended the 2005 ceremony for the previous Pope.

    March 14, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  23. rs

    You would be the first to say that not having an envoy at the Pope's installation would be some gross sign of disrespect for Catholicism if no one from the Obama Administration went.

    March 14, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. g

    throw in free drinks he,ll be there

    March 14, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. DocHollywood

    His schedule won't allow it? These guys only work part time as it is. That can't be the real reason. Is it because he won't go anywhere with Biden? Does he have a party (tea) to go to? Will he be too busy crying? FFS. What kind of a house Speaker is this? He can't work with the president, he can't go see the pope installed, what can he do? Get rid of him.

    March 14, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
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