At the White House briefing Friday following the President’s announcement last week of a withdrawal date for U.S. troops in Iraq, top national security officials to President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden took pains to emphasize that congressional leaders of both parties were briefed prior to the announcement.
But, it turns out, there was at least one Republican who did not get a call on Iraq: House Speaker John Boehner. During the briefing by Obama’s Deputy National Security Advser Dennis McDonough and the Biden’s top National Security Adviser Tony Blinken, Politico’s correspondent Carrie Budoff Brown asked whether the President briefed any leaders of Congress prior to his decision to withdraw all troops from Iraq by the year’s end.
“We did brief members of Congress,” Blinken told Brown. “In fact, a number of us were on the phone with Senate and House leadership and other members to brief them on the President’s conversation with the prime minister [Maliki of Iraq] and to brief them on what the President intended to say.”
Asked in a follow-up question by Brown whether Boehner was included in those briefings, Blinken replied: “I believe so. [T]he speaker’s office was on the call.”
But later in the session, Fox News correspondent Ed Henry suddenly announced to his colleagues: “Hey, guys. Boehner’s office is saying they know of no effort to even contact his office.”
Blinken insisted that there “was a call that had many members of Congress on from both Houses, including leadership. They were certainly invited. We thought they were on.”
When HUMAN EVENTS later reached the speaker’s office, Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck told us that the matter was “certainly not a major controversy. We have no interest bickering over a phone call.” Pressed as to whether there was a call from the White House to Boehner, Buck replied: “No.”