House Speaker John Boehner defended his conservative credentials on Thursday after facing down a far-right challenge to his leadership earlier this week.
“It does pain me to be described as spineless or a squish,” the Ohio Republican said at a press conference on Thursday.
But the insult that hurts the most is being called an “establishment” Republican by members of his own party, Boehner said.
“I’m the most anti-establishment speaker we have ever had,” he said. “Who was the guy who got rid of earmarks? Me. Who’s the guy who believes in regular order? Me. Who believes in allowing more members to participate in the process, from both sides of the aisle? Me.”
Boehner won his third term as speaker on Tuesday despite defections from 25 House Republicans who cast ballots for someone else or voted “present” in protest of his leadership.
Boehner said he understands his colleagues are under pressure from voters who are angry about gridlock in government and need someone to blame.
“The American people are very frustrated,” he said. “They need to take it out on somebody. They take it out on the president, they take it out on me.”
It just goes with the territory, Boehner said.
“I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin,” he said.