House Speaker John Boehner says his upcoming trip to Israel was planned months before his controversial invitation for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress and his subsequent re-election and wasn't designed to be a "victory lap" after Netanyahu's win.
Appearing Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union,"
Boehner said he would do whatever he can to repair the damaged relationship between the two countries.
"I'm the most open, transparent guy in this town, and I'm going," Boehner said. "I'm going to be myself, and if there's anything I can do to repair it [the relationship], I'd be happy to do it.
But he blamed any rift on President Barack Obama, saying his treatment of Netanyahu over the years put pressure on him that pushed him to the point of having to speak up on the Iran nuclear talks.
"I don't blame him at all for speaking up," Boehner told CNN's Dana Bash. "I think the animosity exhibited by our administration toward the prime minister of Israel is reprehensible."
Boehner shrugged off any suggestion that he played a role in the rift by inviting Netanyahu to speak earlier this month, just two weeks prior to Israeli national elections.
"I have one goal," Boehner said. "That goal is to make sure that the American people heard and the Congress heard about the serious threat that Iran poses not only to the Middle East, but for the rest of the world, including the United States. There's nobody going to talk more clearly about this."
Boehner called Netanyahu's warning on an Iran deal the clearest speech he's heard in 25 years on the threats against America.
Boehner will be in Israel when the Tuesday deadline is reached in the Iran talks. He told CNN he has "serious doubts" an agreement will be reached.
"I just don't understand why we would sign an agreement with a group of people who in my opinion have no intention of keeping their word," he said.
If there is no agreement, he vowed to act "very quickly" to increase sanctions against the Iranian government.
On the home front, Boehner said it should come as no surprise that he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were able to hammer out a health care deal this past week. He said plenty happens in Congress every day on a bipartisan basis, but isn't reported on.
But he admitted to the unenviable goal of keeping members of his Republican Party in line.
"My goal every day is to try to keep 218 frogs in a wheelbarrow long enough to get something passed," he said.
He called the job far more challenging today than it was when his predecessors had it, but he also called it "laughable" that there was a "coup" to dethrone him as speaker.
Twenty-five conservative members of his own party voted against him this year, which could have sent voting to a second ballot.
But Boehner noted that he grew up with 11 siblings and learned early on "you have to learn to get along with each other, get things done together."
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