Since announcing his resignation as speaker of the United States House of Representatives in 2015, John Boehner has taken his new position as retired politician very seriously, spending his days golfing, ironing his underwear in peace, and commenting on the current political climate without mincing his words.
In an extensive interview with Politico, the Ohio native touches on a variety of subjects, from former president Barack Obama to the dangerous fissure dividing American society.
Obama and smoking
When asked about the former president's efforts to stay away from cigarettes, Boehner, a regular smoker, assured that he had never seen Obama sneak a square. "Oh no. No no no," he told the magazine. "He's scared to death of his wife. Scared. To. Death," he added, referring to the health-conscious former first lady Michelle Obama.
As if confirming Obama's efforts to stay off tobacco, he recalled a meeting he had with the then-president in 2011. "I'm smoking a cigarette, and they bring me a glass of merlot. And we're sitting there a little while, and here's the president drinking iced tea and chomping on Nicorette," he said.
Donald Trump and the Republican Party
Boehner, the former Republican leader in the House, has gloomy predictions for his party in the wake of Donald Trump, who's presidency he previously described as "a complete disaster".
When asked if the party could survive the current political imbroglio, he responded, "There is no Rep—," before cutting himself short. "There is," he altered his answer. "But what does it even mean? Donald Trump's not a Republican. He's not a Democrat. He's a populist. He doesn't have an ideological bone in his body."
Growing divide in American society
"People thought in '09, '10, '11, that the country couldn't be divided more," Boehner mentions of the growing rift between extremists on both sides. "You go back to Obama's campaign in 2008, you know, he was talking about the divide and healing the country and all of that. And some would argue on the right that he did more to divide the country than to unite it. I kind of reject that notion."
The 67-year-old believes the press is more to blame. "It was modern-day media, and social media, that kept pushing people further right and further left. People started to figure out... they could choose where to get their news. And so what do people do? They choose places they agree with, reinforcing the divide.
"It's going to take an intervening event for Americans to realise that first, we are Americans," he prophesied. "Something cataclysmic."