House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday morning that he has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress in February, and said he did so in order to start a discussion about terrorist threats that President Barack Obama "papered over" in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
"There is a serious threat that exists in the world, and the president last night kind of papered over it," Boehner told reporters Wednesday. "The fact is is that there needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is from radial Islamic jihadists and the threat posed by Iran."
Boehner added that he invited Netanyahu without consulting with Obama, and said the move shouldn't be seen as a slight against the president.
"I did not consult with the White House," Boehner said. "The Congress can make this decision on its own. I don't believe I'm poking anyone in the eye."
A White House reporter tweeted later that White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the failure to notify the White House was a "departure from protocol."
Earnest in gaggle: WH not notified of Netanyahu invite to give speech to Congress, describes it as "a departure from protocol."— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 21, 2015
The Obama administration has faced criticism for the last few weeks for failing to highlight radical Islamic terrorists as a major source of terrorism around the world. The administration seems to be trying to avoid blaming any religion for these attacks, but those efforts have been seen as disconnected from reality by most GOP members of Congress.
On Tuesday night, Obama was criticized again for failing to mention Al Qaeda or radical Islam during his State of the Union address.
Boehner's invitation is to have Netanyahu speak on February 11. Netanyahu has addressed Congress twice before — once on July 10, 1996, and again on May 24, 2011 — and Boehner said his return would help give Americans a deeper understanding of the terrorist threats all nations face.
"Prime Minister Netanyahu is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people," Boehner said. "In this time of challenge, I am asking the Prime Minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life."
"Americans and Israelis have always stood together in shared cause and common ideals, and now we must rise to the moment again," he said.
Read Boehner's invitation letter to Netanyahu: