Republican New York Congressman Peter King was near tears on Wednesday as he threatened to leave the Republican Party, while excoriating the leadership and other members after they reversed course and refused to pass a relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
In an emotional interview with CNN, King pointed a finger directly at House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for the failure to bring Sandy aid up for a vote after passing a bill to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
“Boehner is the one,” the New York Republican explained. “He walked off the floor. He refused to tell us why. He refused to give us any indication or warning whatsoever… I’m just saying, these people have no problem finding New York — these Republicans — when they’re trying to raise money. They raise millions of dollars in New York City and New Jersey, they sent Gov. [Chris] Christie around the country raising millions of dollars for them. I’m saying, anyone from New York and New Jersey who contributes one penny to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee should have their head examined. I would not give one penny to these people based on what they did to us last night.”
CNN host Victor Blackwell wondered if King’s disgust over scuttling the hurricane relief was enough to make him leave the Republican Party.
“I’m going to do what I have to do,” King insisted. “I’m going to be independent minded. Sometimes, as John Kennedy said, party loyalty demands too much. And I would — as all of us do — often, you give the benefit of the doubt to your party. We are a two-party system. But I’m over that because as the very least, you’re expected to be treated fairly… When your people are literally freezing in the winter and they’re without food and they’re without shelter and they’re without clothing and my own party refuses to help them, then why should I help the Republican Party?”
King recalled that Boehner refused to even speak to the Republican lawmakers from hurricane-stricken areas, at one point yelling, “I’m not going to meet with you people!”
“I was chasing the Speaker all over the House floor last night,” he said. “So he wouldn’t tell us why, he just decided to sneak off in the dark of night.”
“I would say that the Republican Party says that it’s the party of family values,” King continued. “Last night, it decided to turn its back on the most essential value of all. And that’s to provide food, shelter, clothing and relief for people who have been hit by a natural disaster. And I would say that the Republican Party has turned its back on those people. And it’s going to be very hard for me to ask any of those people to vote for the national Republican Party.”
“We were told everything was on board, everything was ready, we had all the papers ready to go, we had lined up the votes, we had the committed votes where this bill would have passed on the House floor with no problem at all, we had gone around and spoken to people, we had done everything we were asked to do. And, again, the knife in the back. And that’s all it is.”
Watch video from CNN’s Newsroom, broadcast Jan. 2, 2013.