US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) defended the decision to invite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress in a special interview aired on Fox News in the United States Wednesday night.
During “Special Report with Bret Baier," Boehner attacked US President Barack Obama on number of issues including immigration and ObamaCare, before turning his attention to the controversy over Netanyahu's upcoming speech.
Boehner raised eyebrows last week when he announced that Netanyahu had accepted his invitation to address a rare joint session of Congress early this year – an invitation extended without consulting Democratic leaders in Congress or the White House.
Boehner defended the action, saying Congress has every right, as a separate branch of government, to operate without the administration's input.
When asked by Baier if the Obama administration harbors a deep antipathy against Prime Minister Netanyahu, Boehner answered in the affirmative.
"Of course," he said, "they don't even try to hide it."
Boehner stressed that he has no regrets over his invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress, but added he is not surprised by the pushback and criticism he's received for the move.
"I believe that the Prime Minister of Israeli has a strong voice. He believes that the threat of the Iranians having a nuclear weapon is a very serious threat."
“The Israeli Prime Minister can also talk with some expertise about the growing threat of radical Islam,” Boehner said. “We’ve got a serious problem in the world and the president just wants to act like it’s going to just disappear."
"And so as a co-equal branch of our government, I don’t have any problem at all in doing what I did to invite the Prime Minister to come to Congress and address those concerns.”
Continuing, Boehner stressed the importance of the US's relationship with the Jewish State.
"Israel has been our strongest ally in the region for decades. We have a great relationship with them, and we ought to look for ways to work together on behalf of our shared interests," he stressed, slamming Obama for continued "antipathy."
Also Wednesday night, three members of the Democratic Party in Congress sent a letter to Boehner demanding the postponement of Netanyahu's speech.
While emphasizing their support for the speech, they stated, "our relationship with Israel is too important to be used as a pawn in the political game."
"We urge you to postpone the visit until after elections in Israel and after the deadline for the next round of talks on the Iranian nuclear issue [on March 31]."