A February 12 Roll Call article (subscription required) falsely suggested that House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has sat out the attacks launched by his Republican colleagues against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) use of military aircraft for domestic travel. Roll Call reported that Boehner did not attack Pelosi in the House floor debate on the issue of her use of a military jet. But Boehner leveled unsubstantiated -- and rebutted -- accusations against Pelosi on the matter in a February 8 press conference and on the February 11 edition of NBC's Meet the Press.
From Roll Call:
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) did not speak on the floor, nor did he provoke the issue. "It's just not his style," said another GOP leadership aide, adding that Boehner did not discourage Members from the floor fight.
As Media Matters for America documented, Boehner claimed on the February 11 edition of Meet the Press that Pelosi asked for a "bigger plane" to fly to and from her district because she wanted "supporters and friends and others" to join her. In fact, the House sergeant at arms wrote that it was his recommendation that Pelosi fly in a military aircraft "that is capable of making non-stop flights" to and from her district, "unless such an aircraft is unavailable." Pelosi's staff explicitly stated she "will not use the plane for political travel." On Meet the Press, Boehner also misleadingly suggested that by flying with family, staff, or other members of Congress, Pelosi would be changing practices established by her predecessor, former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL). According to Pentagon rules, the speaker's family and other members of Congress are permitted to fly with the speaker under certain conditions. Family, staff, and other members of Congress reportedly accompanied Hastert on military aircraft when he was speaker.
Boehner made similar comments during a February 8 press conference, in which he said, "I think the questions that have been raised about friends, supporters, relatives, other members flying with her are where the concerns lie, and it would appear to me to be a request that's a bit over the top."