Boehner’s Travels: Speaker Shares Details on Trip

Boehner, visiting the Gaza-Israel border, in a photo from his posts on the Middle East trip. (Courtesy John A. Boehner's Office)
Boehner, visiting the Gaza-Israel border, in a photo from his posts on the Middle East trip. (Courtesy John A. Boehner's Office)
Posted April 3, 2015 at 4:00pm

John A. Boehner’s trip to the Middle East this week was covered extensively by the press both here  and overseas , but few news organizations offered the behind-the-scenes details the House speaker himself shared on a new blog.  

Boehner, or someone on the speaker’s team writing under his name, posted four journal-style entries this week on the congressional delegation’s stops in England, Jordan, Israel and Iraq. While the posts offer a rare glimpse into life on the CODEL, they also represent an increasing trend for politicians: Cutting out the middle man — the press — to deliver content straight to the voters. Social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook have largely been embraced by the press and politicians.  

This newest iteration of social media — a publish-it-yourself blog format called Medium that was launched years ago by two of the founders of Twitter — could more directly subvert the press and allow politicians to deliver messages exactly as they want them delivered.  

So far, Boehner and his staff are using Medium to deliver short, often personal, updates about members and their travel.  

For instance, while visiting with American soldiers in Iraq, Boehner noted that Rep. Martha Roby, one of the contingent of lawmakers accompanying the speaker, always manages to meet someone from Montgomery, Ala.  

After lunch and talks with British officials at the Peover House in England , Boehner marveled at the history surrounding the 16th-century building, noting that Gen. George Patton and his staff lived there before D-Day was launched.  

In Jordan, he wrote about meeting with the king as well as with a man whose company makes air conditioners — more than likely a lucrative business in the Middle East, the speaker noted in an aside .  

On Wednesday in Israel, the primary focus of the trip, Boehner met with newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just one day before President Barack Obama announced a deal in the international talks to rein in Iran’s nuclear program.  

The speaker also got a first-hand look at the tunnels being dug under the Israeli border with Gaza, writing:

“We go down into one of the tunnels, and let me tell you, you can barely fit shoulder-to-shoulder. They tell us that Hamas is digging as we speak, about 10 meters a day over three shifts.”

In addition to Roby, Boehner was joined on the congressional delegation by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes of California; Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline of Minnesota; Middle East and North African Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida; Appropriations Subcommittee Chairmen Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, Ken Calvert of California and Mike Simpson of Idaho; and George Holding of North Carolina.