Texas Rep. Bill Flores fled from a press conference today instead of saying whether he would support House Speaker John Boehner in a pending leadership vote.
“I need to go to the my next [appointment],” he said, before shifting the subject back to a prior topic. “With respect to Iran, Ambassador John Bolton is our speaker, and I’m going to raise some of these issues with him regarding whether the Corker-Cardin is the right way to proceed or if we should proceed some other route,” he said, dodging Breitbart’s question in a cloud of words.
“Not trying to dodge your question,” Flores said next, as he exited the room amid laughter from several reporters who are well-used to legislators dodging their questions.
However, four other legislators answered Breitbart’s question, and they hinted that Boehner’s leadership position hinges on how GOP leadership handles President Barack Obama’s unpopular Iran deal this month.
At the monthly press conference, “During Conversations with Conservatives,” Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, and Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia spoke about their response to Rep. Mark Meadows’ pending measure to remove Boehner from his leadership position.
Hartzler downplayed the pending vote, since there are “many issues” that Congress should focus on at the moment.
“I think that now is the time to unite as Republicans on the many, many issues that we have facing us and I think there is a right time and procedure to choose the Speaker,” Hartzler responded to Breitbart’s question as to whether or not the lawmakers plan to support Meadows’ measure.
She said she believes Congress must focus right now on Iran, or whether it’s getting the budget passed and making sure it’s fully funding our military.
Huelskamp confirmed he would support Meadows’ measure to remove Boehner from his position. “Without a doubt, my two votes in last January and two years before that I voted against John Boehner, I think that’s the right decision. My constituents believe that, they’re looking for good leadership.”
Labrador spoke up and hinted that his decision on whether or not to support Meadows’ measure hinges on how House leadership performs in the upcoming weeks. “Right now, I’m waiting to see what happens this month,” Labrador answered. “I thought the motion was premature.” He went on:
It’s important to note what’s happening in America. When you see right now that Trump and Carson are leading the Republican presidential nomination because they are outsiders, because they don’t belong to the Washington Establishment, because they’re not seen as people that are part of the problem, they’re seen as the solution – even though they’re really in my opinion, they’re not offering any solution because they’re not answering substantive questions, but that’s what people are perceiving – cause they’re so concerned about what’s happening in Washington D.C. and they’re concerned about our fecklessness as leaders.
Labrador said he believes that’s why the Iran deal is crucial. “I think that’s why this Iran deal is so important. If the Senate Majority Leader cannot stand up for the American people … then we do need new leadership in Washington, D.C. If the House is unwilling to actually stand up for the American people on this issue, on Planned Parenthood, on the budget, on these different things, we do need new leadership. So I’m really waiting to see what happens this month.”
“To their credit, they’re listening to this issue on Iran, and hopefully they will continue to listen on all the issues,” he added.
Loudermilk spoke last, saying, “There’s a distinct difference between new leadership and better leadership and I think that’s what has to be determined.” Loudermilk said he had been down that path before when he was in the state legislature and that the new leadership didn’t turn out so well.
He hinted his vote on whether or not to remove Boehner hinges on how the House handles the Iran deal, the budget, and defunding Planned Parenthood over the coming weeks. Loudermilk said:
The next few weeks will determine…the American people are frustrated, they’re very frustrated with Congress from my time in the district the general feeling across the board, it isn’t just tea party and conservatives, but business leaders as well, is that the President is running the entire country including Congress because we’re always just reacting. Nothing is going to change until we start having long term plans.
The lawmakers at the Conversations with Conservatives meeting were: Rep. Hartzler (R-MO), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) – who left early – Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), and Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) – who came in late.
After seeing this story, Rep. Bill Flores’s press secretary Caitlin Carroll contacted Breitbart News, calling the story “ridiculous” and arguing he had a prior scheduled event, and that’s why he left the press conference.
After the story was published, Flores told Breitbart News:
This is the time for conservatives to be united and focused on producing legislative solutions for hardworking Americans and protecting their families from the effects of the Obama Administration’s destructive policies. There is too much at stake to let ourselves become consumed by internal divisions and to prevent us from working together to restore America to Reagan’s vision of a “shining city on a hill.”
***Update number 2***
Flores’ staff continues to refuse to answer whether he plans to support Boehner. They sent yet another statement to Breitbart News that refuses to answer the question. Here is the statement:
“The fact that Chairman Flores needed to leave to attend a prior engagement with Ambassador John Bolton was announced to everyone at the beginning of the event,” Republican Study Committee spokeswoman Caitlin Carroll told Breitbart News. “To suggest he was leaving for any other reason is ridiculous.”
Regardless of the fact his plans to leave the press conference earlier were absolutely announced at the beginning of it, Flores did run out of the room after being asked that question and continues to duck accountability in answering it. If Flores wasn’t fleeing he’d have no problem saying whether he will support Boehner or not if such a vote came up.