GOP House leader told Obama: “I cannot even stand to look at you”

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin says that during government shutdown negotiations with the Republicans, one GOP US House leader told President Obama:

“I cannot even stand to look at you.”

Durbin made the accusation via Facebook this week:


As you know, the GOP, led by House Republicans and GOP Senator Ted Cruz, shut down the federal government and threatened to default on the national debt as a strategy to coerce the President to agree to defund Obamacare, aka health care reform.

It didn’t work.

Durbin’s Facebook post doesn’t make clear which House Republican leader allegedly said this, but there are only five to choose from:

gop-house-leadersThe Durbin post also doesn’t make clear whether the comment came in the lead up to the shutdown, or during the shutdown itself.

As for who made the comment, your guess is as good as mine. But some candidates clearly pop out.

Now, GOP House Speaker John Boehner and GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor are both denying it, but it’s unlikely they’d admit it if it were true.

And White House spokesman Jay Carney just said it didn’t happen, but what is Carney supposed to say?  The President can’t admit that something said during an off-the-record meeting, something so damaging, was leaked.  It’s the President’s job to be a better man about it, and move forward.

UPDATE: Durbin stands by his story…

But two Democratic aides, both of whom requested anonymity, told The Huffington Post that the incident was relayed to members during a Senate Democratic Caucus meeting shortly after it allegedly happened. And Durbin isn’t backing down from the claims he originally made on his Facebook page on Sunday.

“Sen. Durbin stands by his comments,” Durbin spokesman Max Gleischman told The Huffington Post.

Durbin is telling the truth.  The bigger question is why Durbin would write such a thing if it weren’t true.  I doubt he would.  Knowing the Senate, and members of Congress, the most likely explanation is that Durbin is simply reporting what he knows to be true.  He was either there, or he was told the story by someone who was there.  And he dutifully repeated it, not understanding that the White House didn’t want the story out there.

Considering the Republicans have called President Obama a communist, socialist, gay, Muslim born in Kenya, would anyone really put this kind of quote past them? Sadly, no.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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38 Responses to “GOP House leader told Obama: “I cannot even stand to look at you””

  1. The_Fixer says:

    I am very torn on the way we treat any president – as though he is royalty. On the other hand, it is a tough job that makes the person give up a lot. Not only when they are in office, but after they leave it. Think we can turn it down a notch or two, though.

    But I think that there’s a basic human level of respect that should be given the President, no matter what party he identifies with. With Republicans, it only appears to be a one-way street, however.

  2. karmanot says:

    Why must we respect the office of the President? Most of them are assholes and degrade the office….Obozo included.

  3. BeccaM says:

    Apparently I was wrong, it was Rep. Pete Sessions, Tea Bagger Republican from Texas and chairman of the House Rules Committee (hence ‘GOP leader’ in the original reports).

  4. BeccaM says:

    Did happen. Let’s have a little accountability, shall we? Not to mention respect for the office of the presidency?

  5. lynchie says:

    I always leave mine in the machine so I bum a few every day

  6. lynchie says:

    Durbin show some balls tell us who. Make the Repub own his comment and defend it on the talk shows.

  7. lynchie says:

    so why the hell didn’t he call him out. In the meeting and then publicly. Easy answer… they are all part of the club and as a result not a single Dem has publicly supported ACA and no one has gotten in the face of the bigots and humiliated them. This empowers the racists and makes the TP and their band of fuckwits feel they can do and say anything they want with no recriminations.

  8. fletcher says:

    It is now reported that the person uttering those hateful words was Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex-ass). Figures!

  9. Butch1 says:

    They hate the fact that a black man one the election the first time and were furious that he one it the second time around even when they did everything in their power to try and screw him up and this country to bring it to its knees. They hate him so much they would destroy this economy to get rid of him.

    We need to get rid of THEM in stead.

  10. Butch1 says:

    What’s up with Jay Carney always lying and protecting these quisling republicans in the House? It would be a breath of fresh air to actually hear him speak the truth once and for all from the White House after all the lies he tells day in and day out. Those Tea Fools in the House have hated Obama from the beginning; they are racists and thinly disguise their hatred and bigotry for him. Why should the White House protect them anymore? The asshat how said this should be named and then let him lie and deny it to the press. Why should Carney and the President protect the bigot? Enough of this.

  11. benb says:

    My hunch is that Durbin revealed it because it was a surprise to everyone in the room. Say awful things about the opposition in public but, in private, it’s just business.

  12. The_Fixer says:

    I find it to be believable.

    Remember Joe Wilson? He called the President “Liar” in public, right in the middle of the SOTU address.

    Another Republican saying that in private? Absolutely believable. And Durbin was brave enough to put his name behind this story.

    So the time for rehashing it is now. Something good can come of it. Voters can confirm, via this report, that the Republicans are more interested in attacking the President than actually, you know, solving the country’s problems. Which may cause them to vote differently.

  13. Corey says:

    Just follow Cheneys lead tell them to go f themselves

  14. Monoceros Forth says:

    “Let’s move on.” The mating call of the jingo patriot. We were supposed to “move on” as well from destroying Iraq.

  15. Candlefly says:

    It happened and to ignore it and move on is to condone such despicable behavior. It’s time to pluck these Republican birds and cook their bigoted behinds. This should be in every publication and network, the people of this country need to know the belly crawlers they are voting into office.

  16. kafantaris says:

    “Didn’t happen,” is all that can and should be said about it right now.
    Nothing good will come from doing otherwise.
    Rehashing is for another day — and even then won’t do any good.
    End of story.
    Let’s move on.

  17. Monoceros Forth says:

    Yeah, it’s hard to argue with that. They might bleat about “respecting the office of the President” when it’s a Republican in power but that doesn’t really apply to a Kenyan atheistic Muslim with a faked birth certificate who only got reelected because the administration sent its henchmen down to the U.S.-Mexico border to welcome illegal immigrants with a pile of welfare checks, free phones and directions to the nearest voting booth.

  18. Jimmy says:

    I’m no longer surprised at the disrespect Republicans show for the duly elected leader of the nation. They would flip out if a Democrat showed this much disrespect to a Republican president, but then that’s how Republicans work these days.

  19. cole3244 says:

    my response to the gop leader aka right wing bigoted racist is, the feeling is mutual.

  20. vonlmo says:

    Yes, it was “Granny Starving” in 2011 but in 2013 it’s the New Normal & the basis of future budget negotiations. That’s steadfast leadership I can believe in.

  21. MichaelS says:

    Just once I’d like to see him become Martin Sheen (with a script-writer backing him) and kick that sorry-ass Republican’s ass out of the White House – forever – and very publicly. You can disrespect Barack Obama, but you cannot disrespect the President of the United States and continue in a leadership role.

  22. Naja pallida says:

    Just once I’d like to see him go on the record with the response: “Oh, grow the hell up.”

  23. Naja pallida says:

    Among these are the same people who, when some of us would point out what a buffoon George W. Bush was, would jump up and declare that we must “respect the Presidency even if we don’t like the President!”

  24. Houndentenor says:

    I don’t know how he does it. The hate that comes at him. I’m not sure how he keeps his cool when confronted with that day in and day out. I certainly couldn’t handle it with this much professionalism and dignity.

  25. BeccaM says:

    True, but you forget the IOKYAR factor.

    If word had leaked that a Dem House leader had said anything like that to (or even about) Der Shrubbenfuhrer, there would have been wall-to-wall demands on Faux News and from GOP spokesweasels for investigations and possible expulsion from the chamber.

    If a GOPer says it, it’s fine because according to them, there’s no such thing as a legitimately elected Democratic president — and it’s been the case for them since 1992.

  26. ArthurH says:

    Sounds like old habits leaking out. In parts of the U.S. being disrespectful to the President is good politics. Before like-thinking crowds, no negative stereotype is off limits. So it is no wonder that during a heated debate the hatred would flow out. I’ve heard of mothers who, when a child says a nasty word, washes the kid’s mouth out with soap. Some of the vitriol I’ve heard coming from the mouths of candidates seeking the Tea Party vote would require a strong industrial strength detergent to cleanse their palates.

  27. Monoceros Forth says:

    I’ll remember this, the next time some minor criticism of Republican policy from a Democratic backbencher sends the GOP into driveling fits about “civility”.

  28. BeccaM says:

    One other theory is it was Paul Ryan, who as chairman of the House budget committee, was present at many of the negotiations. Despite not being in the formal ‘leadership’, for the purposes of this GOP-caused debacle, he was considered a leader.

    If not him, my money is on Cantor. Mainly because he’s got massive douche-face.

    But I still think it’s Ryan. Why? Because Obama in 2011 blasted Paul Ryan’s ‘Granny Starving’ budget while Ryan was right there in the front row of the audience.

  29. Whitewitch says:

    Ha! Fellow traveler!

  30. Whitewitch says:

    Ohhh we are sinners…my friends…yes we are . We are the best friend to have though – think how sad if those smokers had to go out by themselves

  31. Monoceros Forth says:

    As am I. I haven’t smoked regularly for maybe 8 years now but, maybe one or twice a year, I’ll still bum a smoke from someone. :-/

  32. The_Fixer says:

    *meekly raises hand*

    I’m guilty of that, too :)

  33. Whitewitch says:

    I do that with my friend when he steps out to smoke – on the pretense of having a cordial exchange, but actually to inhale (and sometimes take a hit) off his cig….bet they are cig buddies. That is a nice thought for me anyway…that they actually can get along – it is a dream.

    I should add I am an “ex-smoker” 99.9% of the time.

  34. Naja pallida says:

    That is one of the classic lines from a serial abuser. The White House’s response also fits that pattern perfectly.

  35. The_Fixer says:

    This is completely believable, considering some of the things that we’ve heard them say in public.

    As to who said it, I don’t think it was Boehner. There was a report that, during negotiations, Boehner stepped outside for a smoke break. The president followed him and they had a cordial, if short conversation when Boehner admitted that he had been bowled over by the TEA party people in the house.

    I could be wrong. And other than thinking it wasn’t Boehner, I don’t really have a clue. Would love to blame it on Cantor, though. Just because.

  36. HereinDC says:

    My bet is Lankford

  37. 2patricius2 says:

    Such hatred exposed. Durbin is careful with his words. He would not say something like this if it were not true.

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