Related: Boehner was reelected Speaker of the House on Thursday afternoon. Read our story and see the votes here.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Thursday walked back his blistering criticism of the House Republican leadership for scrapping a vote on Hurricane Sandy aid, saying it was “shock therapy.”
“I stand by what I said at the time. I thought it was time for shock therapy, which is why I said it,” King said on NBC’s “Today.” “If we do not get this aid, this would be disastrous for the people of New York. This wasn’t some special gimmick we were looking for. This is life and death. I have people in my district living in the back of cars, living in dilapidated homes.”
The vote on a $60 billion aid package had been expected late Tuesday night after the vote to avert the “fiscal cliff.” Instead, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) canceled the vote, prompting a storm of fury from King and other New York-area lawmakers, as well as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).
King in particular called the speaker’s actions “an absolute disgrace” and urged New Yorkers not to give “one penny to congressional Republicans.” Boehner subsequently set two votes for Sandy relief.
“What’s done is done. The fact is, when the money was on the line yesterday, when the decision had to be made, John Boehner made the right decision. John Boehner agreed to put it all on the calendar,” King said on NBC. “If we’re going to carry grudges for the rest of our lives, we’ll never get anything done.”
King wouldn’t discuss the specifics of his meeting with Boehner, except to say the speaker made “a joking obscene reference with a smile and then he said ‘I love you’ and then we went into the meeting.”
The Washington Post’s Jason Horowitz, who chronicled King’s flame-throwing day, tweeted that the word Boehner used to greet him was “a–hole.” The expletive also came a few days after the speaker reportedly told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, “Go f–k yourself.”
“It was actually very cordial, very businesslike, but at the end of the meeting John and I shook hands, he actually walked with me, opened the door, and he said we’ll be friends,” King said on NBC. “I do consider John Boehner a friend, which is what really hurt the other day…I felt I had to do what I did for the voters of my district, John said he understood that, he said he understood the pressure, he understood the suffering and he said he had to make a decision.”
King added, “He thought there was too much going on. I disagree with that but he’s the speaker and the fact that he came around so quickly and he’s willing to work with us and get it on the calendar, I give him credit for that.”
- Is This the End of Boehner’s Speakership?
- Furious Chris Christie Rips John Boehner Over Canceled Sandy Vote in Heated Presser
- Angry Republican Rep. Peter King Tells New Yorkers Not to Give Money to GOP Following No Sandy Vote
- NY Reps. Furious After House Doesn’t Vote on Sandy Storm Relief Bill: ‘Absolute Disgrace’
- Boehner to Reid: ‘Go F**k Yourself’