Boehner Chokes Up Delivering Pelosi Tribute
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hugs former Speaker John Boehner of Ohio during her portrait unveiling ceremony in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol on December 14, 2022 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) got emotional Wednesday as he delivered a tribute to outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

The retired congressman appeared to fight back tears as he delivered remarks at the ceremonial unveiling of Pelosi’s official portrait at the U.S. Capitol.

“You’ve been unfailingly gracious to me, to my family, and, frankly, my team here in Washington,” Boehner said.

“And Madam Speaker, I have to say, my girls told me, ‘Tell the Speaker how much we admire her,’” Boehner added as he began to choke up. Following a round of applause, he remarked, “If you couldn’t tell, my girls are Democrats.”

Preceded by Pelosi in her first stint in the role, Boehner served as House speaker from 2011 up until his resignation in 2015. During his tenure in Congress, Boehner garnered a reputation for crying, including during a victory speech when Republicans won control of the House in 2010.

Pelosi said she was “honored” by Boehner’s presence and quipped that she “would have been a little disappointed if he did not get emotional,” according to NBC News.

After becoming the first female speaker of the House in 2007, Pelosi served four years in that role, and did not hold it again until 2019.

Pelosi announced last month she would not seek another term as the top Democrat in the House, but planned to remain as a congresswoman, continuing to represent much of the San Francisco area as she has since the 1980s. After Republicans won control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is poised to succeed Pelosi next year as minority leader.

Pelosi’s portrait was painted by Ronald Sherr, the artist also was also responsible for Boehner’s portrait, which C-SPAN noted now hangs in the Speaker’s Lobby behind the House Chamber. During his remarks, Boehner said Sherr died in the past few days.

Boehner also talked about how he and Pelosi were “never disagreeable” to each other despite being at odds politically and he shared the story behind the kiss he gave Pelosi in 2011 when she handed him the speaker’s gavel in 2011, according to The Hill.

In attendance at the event was Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, who survived a hammer attack at their residence in California in late October.

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