From the NY DAILY NEWS:
House Speaker John Boehner is taking heat from some Democrats after skipping out on Wednesday’s memorial service for the shooting victims in Arizona and instead hosting a cocktail party for the Republican National Committee.
Boehner held a 7 p.m. cocktail reception for 168 RNC members who are in Washington for an annual meeting. The event, which took place at a Maryland resort, was sponsored by the Ohio Republican’s political action committee
The cocktail party coincided with the 8 p.m. EST memorial ceremony at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where a lone gunman killed six people and injured more than a dozen, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday.
But the reception was billed as a chance for the Boehner to meet with RNC delegates in his new role as House leader.
“Yesterday, Rep. Giffords’ colleagues on both sides of the aisle honored her and mourned those who were lost,” Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner told the Daily News. “The Speaker felt his place was here in the House, with them,”
He added that Boehner left his RNC event before Obama spoke in Arizona and watched the President’s speech.
From THINK PROGRESS:
Boehner delivered heartfelt remarks on the shooting on the House floor this morning, tearing up on several occasions, but the timing of Boehner’s party tonight is awkward, to say the least. House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) canceled an event today “because it would not be appropriate in light of the tragedy.”
But Boehner enjoys his parties. In July of 2009, Boehner interrupted House proceedings so Republican lawmakers could attend his annual “Boehner Beach Party” fundraiser with corporate lobbyists. “It’s just lobbyists and lawmakers getting drunk” on “Boehner’s ‘famous’ margaritas,” a “spy” told Fishbowl DC at the time.
Former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, who served with Boehner in the 90s before getting a show on MSNBC, said in July that “[e]very Republican I talk to says John Boehner, by 5 or 6 o’clock at night, you can see him at bars.” “John Boehner is known as a guy that likes to golf, likes to have a good time, and is not known as a hard worker,” Scarborough said the next day, defending his original comments.