March 14th, 2010
08:20 AM ET
10 years ago

Boehner: I wouldn't vote to close Gitmo 'if you put a gun to my head'

Washington (CNN) – The top Republican in the House is not mincing words when it comes to voicing his opposition to closing the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and relocating the terrorism suspects held there onto American soil.

Asked about the facility and whether it would be closed, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in an interview that airs on Sunday’s State of the Union, “Well, no they're not. They - they keep saying they are.”

Boehner rejected the White House proposal saying, “(T)hey want $500 million from this Congress to rehabilitate this prison in northwest Illinois. I want to see who the members are who are going to vote for this. I wouldn't vote for this if you put a gun to my head.”

In the sit-down interview with Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, Boehner called Guantanamo “a world class facility” and said it was a proper site for conducting the military trials of suspected terrorists, an option preferred by Boehner and many of his Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill.

“I think it's the appropriate - appropriate place to hold these prisoners. And they can do the - the tribunals right there at Guantanamo. There is no reason to bring these terrorists into the United States. No reason to increase the threat level here - because they're here, their friends may want to come. It makes no sense to me. And I don't think the Congress will appropriate one dime to move those prisoners from Guantanamo to the United States.”

The White House is reconsidering a previously announced plan by Attorney General Eric Holder to hold several high-profile terrorism trials in civilian court in New York City. The Obama administration has also failed to meet its own, self-imposed one-year deadline for closing the Guantanamo Bay facility and moving the detainees held there to another ultra high-security prison perhaps in the Midwestern United States.


Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN

soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Florence

    Maybe that is what will happen in November and 2012. The American people will ut a gun in Republicans head if they don't stop playing politics with national security issues. Closing GITMO will become a campaign issue for Republicans if they don't get their act together.

    March 14, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. cardog

    Of all the blogs written here I will only respond to Mike...Being the die hard Republican that you are, I look forward to November so I can hear what you have to say when the American people tell people like you to go to H-.

    March 14, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. SuzyQ

    OH MY GOSH , when are they going to send this orange nut case packing, it won't be soon enough. you can bet when it comes up for his re-election doubt that he will be coming back, just like a lot of the other repugs

    March 14, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Ah SHUT UP... god I hate Republicans

    March 14, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  5. johnnyj

    O.k. People, why don't we just start serving the terrorist cookies and milk and beg them to please stop hurting other people. Maybe that will work.

    March 14, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. Libertarian

    I'm tired of watching "Bonner" systematically divide this country. Why does he want Americans divided? Does anyone remember who the "real American's" are anymore? They were immigrants from all over the world that came together. Yes, "Bonner", I know you want us to change the defnition to only "pure" white people that agree with you but the truth is, you're ancestors were muts too.

    March 14, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  7. j

    Please, somebody put a gun to his head and test out his theory! So silly.

    This country's image has been tarnished by the previous Republican administration. These people being held at Gitmo need to be brought to trial for whatever crimes they may have committed. This is a nation of laws and rights that need to be followed.

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty in a court of law? The Republicans let fear entangle their thinking and forget that you can't just suspect someone of having committed a crime, you have to be able to prove it and if we give that up, we're no better than some of the worst countries on the planet. It shows very poor leadership to lead fear and hate. We are a nation of laws and rights – we should follow our best selves instead of our worst.

    March 14, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. Adalbert

    This idiot is a fanatic.

    March 14, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. D. Bunker

    Boehner is a bedwetting coward and fearmonger, as are a lot of the sanctimonious phony patriots and phony soldiers pretending to already know that every person the military has detained is a dangerous "terrorist." Sorry, it doesn't work that way. Our system is based on fact-finding and due process procedures. If you are willing to reject those fundamental basics of the US system then you are not a patriot, you are a traitor.

    March 14, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Justin Seine

    If a bullet were fired at his head there would be carnage all about from the richochet. NOTHING, not even a bullet could penetrate that thick skull!

    March 14, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. Shawn

    Well...I like the gun part...

    I dunno why people make closing one of the best recruiting tools for terrorists groups out to be a bad thing. A LARGE majority of these prisoners aren't even terrorists...hell, we have prisons on US soil that are currently housing people that are a thousand times more violent and dangerous than the detainees at Gitmo. And it isn't like we would allow them to roam the streets or have contact with the public...they would be LOCKED UP. Its a non-issue used to scare people into saying "not in my backyard".

    March 14, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  12. Shawn

    I just figured it out! The closing of Gitmo is a democratic conspiracy! They want to bring them to the US, use them to tend to flower gardens at YOUR CHILDRENS schools, then Obama can issue a blanket pardon, make them US citizens, give them that EVIL free healthcare, and then let them vote in 2012, ensuring an Obama victory! We must stop them! SAY NO TO TERRORIST BEGONIAS!!

    March 14, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. New Age Independant

    The liberal hate is once again running rampant. I see it over and over again. When they have no viable alternative, or they just want to oppose their opponent party, they spew names and hate. The realization that Gitmo is the safest possible place on the planet to hold these terrorists, doesn't even play into their thinking. Do they offer up their neighborhood? Oh hell no. They are the NIMBY bunch. They only scream to support a fanatic agenda. They offer no real solutions.

    March 14, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. T'SAH from Virginia

    This is another thing that needs to be overhauled – GUN CONTROL!!! But in this case, Boehner's gun would come in handy!!!

    March 14, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. Justin

    That spineless coward would absolutely vote to close Gitmo if someone put a gun to his head. The only reason he's not voting to close Gitmo now is because he's more afraid of "terrorists on American soil" than he is of a gun to his head.

    March 14, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. ray

    someone should really put a gun to this racists head, really, yes put it to his head and just wish, wish ,

    March 14, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. lara

    I wonder if this man realises how cowardly it makes america look when he openly admits to being scared to take ownership of the process of dealing with criminals who killed fellow countrymen.
    If military tribunals go ahead, and gitmo remains open, it will be because the publc were to scared to take the justice they claim they want, and then terror truly will have won.
    The taliban and al qaeda must be laughing their asses off when faced with politicians who are willing to send young men and women to die in distant lands but are too scared to have a suspected terrorist in the same country as them, even in a maximum security prison.
    They're using people like boehner's cowardice to recruit as we speak.
    I thought republicans were supposed to be the tough party, when exactly did they turn into a bunch of little girls with no faith in their justice system, and no regard for the constitution?

    March 14, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  18. u2canfail

    OK, but I would be willing to fire the shot. GITMO needs to close. This is the USA, remember, something about justice for all made us famous. In WWll, we tried to be the fighters with a conscience. I suppose that was stupid too, Mr TAN? Gitmo is torture. Torture, we should never have condoned, and torture for those of us who believe America should have values! If you want a GITMO, place in Ohio. Then you can start to end the rule of law for all citizens in Ohio. No person should have a civilian trial, and then certainly no person accused should have the right to a lawyer. It will be a bit like the coins you purchased, fun to watch, stupid in practice.

    March 14, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  19. Gary

    Would someone please put a gun to his head.

    March 14, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  20. Marcus

    'johnnyj March 14th, 2010 10:18 am ET
    O.k. People, why don't we just start serving the terrorist cookies and milk and beg them to please stop hurting other people. Maybe that will work.'

    FYI, the final report of that Congressional investigation about if 9/11 could or not be avoided indicated that those... beings' behavior in the months before 9/11 raised a lot of flags in different espionage/defense agencies, but there wasn't any coordenation between them and those flags were ignored by Bush & Co..
    SO!, the old way of gathering info from/ about terrorists (in short no government snactioned torture) WORKS, as long as somebody in the Administration PAYS ATTENTION TO THEM.

    March 14, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  21. Christopher

    "The liberal hate is once again running rampant. I see it over and over again. When they have no viable alternative, or they just want to oppose their opponent party, they spew names and hate. The realization that Gitmo is the safest possible place on the planet to hold these terrorists, doesn't even play into their thinking. Do they offer up their neighborhood? Oh hell no. They are the NIMBY bunch. They only scream to support a fanatic agenda. They offer no real solutions."

    Do you really see your own party or yourself as being above this behavior? Before you go preach the evils of "liberal hate" you need to examine your standards and values. You are just as bad and no different than the people you are decrying in your hate-filled post.

    March 14, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. Aunt Bea and Opie

    No, he would pee his pants and cry like a baby first.

    March 14, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. A. Thomas

    I think you should stop relying on the polls wheather you should pass health care or not. Polls is just how you ask the question. I am sure most people will love to have health care reform and I surely hope that the White House and Congress are not listening to the so call polls and pass health care. I realy believe that the people who are so loud against health care are being paid to do so, its all about how much money they can get today by showing how loud they can be against heath care not caring about the majority of the people. If health care fails it will be because the Democrats that vote aganist it is running scare and they shouldn't be in Congress. It tells me they are not there to help the people they represent but there for how much money and all the gifts they can get from special interest and big Insurance Companies. It shouldn't be a hard sale, everyone knows how expensive health care is and how unfair it is. To say the America people don't want health care is just a lie. We desperately want health care that we can afford for our family without going broke.

    March 14, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. proud mother and sister of a soldier

    When will you people understand....they are not criminals per say, they are ENEMY COMBATANTS! Evil even exists in the christian world and you cannot rehabilitate evil.

    March 14, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. jim

    i find it especially curious how one of the issues that republicans have is that "obama hasn't closed guantanamo like he said he would", and yet, here is one of the foremost leaders of the republican party saying "we don't want it closed"

    more republican hypocrisy. would someone please tell me why i would want to vote for such a person?

    March 14, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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