Washington D.C., Apr 26, 2021 / 17:00 pm
Former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) shocked the country when he announced his resignation from Congress in 2015 - and in a recent interview he recounted how the historic visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. Capitol accelerated his decision to step down.
In an April 25 interview with Punchbowl News on his recently-published memoir “On the House,” Boehner explained that he had considered retiring from Congress since before the 2014 elections. He had served in Congress for nearly 24 years at that point - including almost four years as House Speaker, a length of time which he had not planned to exceed in the position.
That plan was derailed when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) suffered a shocking defeat in his June 2014 primary. With the loss of his potential successor, Boehner reshuffled his plans and targeted November 2015 as the time to announce his resignation.
A Catholic who grew up one of 12 children, Boehner had worked for years to host the pope at the U.S. Capitol. On Sept. 24, 2015, his dream was realized when Pope Francis delivered the first-ever papal address to a joint session of Congress, during his visit to the United States. Boehner was visibly emotional and cried during parts of the address.