Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announced Friday he will step down. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

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The majority of candidates in the crowded GOP field on Friday welcomed the stunning news that House Speaker John Boehner will resign from his position at the end of October, reflecting the powerful anti-Washington sentiment across the country that has animated the 2016 presidential election.

The speaker's announcement, which came as the House careened toward a potential government shutdown over funding Planned Parenthood, cast a spotlight on the deep turmoil within the House Republican caucus. But it also brought a perceived victory to GOP candidates who say that the political establishment is at the root of Washington's broken culture.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump told reporters at Values Voter Summit in Washington Friday that he thought Boehner's resignation was "a good thing and I think someone else will have a little bit tougher attitude." After taking the stage at the event, he painted Boehner as someone who had strayed from his goal "to change things."

"Do people even like him on a personal basis?" Trump asked the crowd rhetorically. "I don't understand. They get elected. They're full of vinegar. They're going to change things -- they're going to repeal Obamacare. Then they get to these vaulted ceilings, and they change."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the first candidates to speak at the summit Friday morning, announced the speaker's resignation to the attendees moments after the news broke, stirring huge applause from the crowd. The voters at the forum -- which brought together religious conservatives -- are precisely the kinds of voters who have been most invested in the volatile battle over funding Planned Parenthood.

"With all due respect to the people who serve in government...the time has come to turn the page and allow a new generation of leadership in this country," said Rubio, drawing more cheers. "And that extends to the White House and the presidency as well.”

Rubio noted that "it’s not about him or anybody else and I’m not here today to bash anyone."

[House Speaker John Boehner to resign: Live updates.]

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took a more forceful tone during a press conference at the summit when asked about Boehner's resignation, taking a swipe at his leadership even as he avoided directly saying his name.

"I have long called on Republican leadership to do something unusual, which is lead," said Cruz, who was a central player in helping to instigate the 2013 government shutdown. "Go actually stand up and honor the commitments that we made to the American people."

Many of Boehner's critics on the right have faulted the speaker for seeking to avoid another shutdown this year over attempts to strip funding from Planned Parenthood. Cruz tapped into that anger when he took the stage at the summit, folding Boehner's resignation announcement into his anti-Washington establishment message.

"Yesterday John Boehner was Speaker of the House. Y'all come to town and somehow that changes," he said. "My only request is: Can you come more often?"

Cruz added during a press scrum that he would strongly disapprove of a deal with House Democrats cut by Boehner "to fund the Obama administration for the rest of its tenure," adding that he would find it inappropriate for Boehner to "land in a cushy K Street job after joining with the Democrats to implement all of President Obama's priorities."

[Social conservatives cheer Boehner’s resignation: ‘It’s an answered prayer!’]

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, who in 1990 was elected to the House in the same freshman class as Boehner, said at the forum that he believes Boehner’s resignation could bring necessary change to Washington. The two were members of the so-called “Gang of Seven” in the House during that time, which the speaker’s online House biography notes “took on the House establishment” together.

"We just had someone step down today who in my opinion changed a bit, and it’s probably time for him to have stepped down to start a new chapter here in Washington DC,” Santorum told the crowd.

Speaking to reporters in Davenport, Iowa, Carly Fiorina lauded Boehner's service but added that she thinks it is right for him to step aside for a new leader.

“Every leader has a season. And I appreciate Mr. Boehner’s leadership and I think he is doing the right thing stepping aside now and I look forward to a conservative leader for the House,” she said.

Breaking with the majority of candidates who made comments on the speaker's resignation Friday morning, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie issued statements on Twitter that avoided any mention of the political tumult surrounding Boehner's departure and instead lauding his service to the country.

Meanwhile, retired neurosurgeon said in a statement that the speaker is "a fine family man and devoted Catholic whose views on the most important issue of all--life--were unshakable."

"He was before his time with his opposition to earmarks and pork barrel spending," Carson said. "His service has been marked by a demeanor and style many should learn to copy."

On the other side of the aisle, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (Vt.-I) pointed to Boehner's decision as a sign that internal turmoil in the House has reached a tipping point, accusing the Republican Party of moving "way out of touch with the American people."

"It appears that even a very conservative speaker like John Boehner is unable to control the extreme right-wing drift of Republicans in the House," Sanders said. "This is a party whose ideology is way out of touch with the American people. Without Boehner, it may get even worse."

David Weigel and Katie Zezima contributed to this story.

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[House Speaker John Boehner to resign at end of October.]

[John Boehner in twilight.]