Ted Cruz hits back after ‘Lucifer in the flesh’ jibe

War of words between Texas senator and ex-US congressional leader John Boehner

Former speaker John Boehner: “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”Photograph: EPA

Former speaker John Boehner: “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”Photograph: EPA

 

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has said former speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner “allowed his inner Trump to come out” when he called him “Lucifer in the flesh.”

Mr Boehner, who was forced out as House speaker in September after years of in-fighting with Republican hardliners, criticised the Texas senator during a talk at Stanford University in California.

“I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,” Mr Boehner told the student audience at a forum.

Mr Cruz, a conservative firebrand, is an unpopular figure among establishment Republicans over the part he played in the government shutdown of September 2013 when he attempted to derail President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, his health insurance scheme.

War of words

Donald TrumpJohn Kasich

Mr Boehner described Mr Cruz’s rivals as friends during the university forum on Wednesday.

He said he played golf with Mr Trump for years and said that they were “texting buddies.”

The Texas senator used the former speaker’s remarks to underline his credentials an anti-establishment figure in Washington politics. “If you are wondering who actually has stood up to Washington, then John Boehner has made it crystal clear. John Boehner in his remarks described Donald Trump as his texting and golfing buddy,” Mr Cruz told reporters during a campaign stop in Indiana.

He was flanked by Carly Fiorina, the businesswoman and former candidate whom Mr Cruz, in an unusual move, named as his vice presidential candidate on Wednesday.

Running mate

The Texan hopes the move will help him in Indiana, the next state to vote on May 3rd.

Mr Cruz needs to win as many of the state’s 57 delegates if he has any hope of stopping Mr Trump reaching the nomination-winning 1,237-delegate majority, a target he is 250 short of.

In the Democratic primary, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders said in a New York Times interview on Wednesday that he plans to lay off and redirect campaign staff to focus his efforts on California, the final state to vote on June 7th and the biggest in terms of delegates to be won.

Closing the door

Hillary ClintonWhite House

The 74-year-old senator still insists he can win, though he said in Indiana on Wednesday that he was also targeting winning the most votes he can in the remaining 10 states so as “to put together the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen.”