He didn't mention House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) by name, but he didn't have to.
Boehner was just one of a few House Republicans to publicly rebuke the majority leader (and likely next speaker) for his comments Tuesday linking Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton's poll numbers to Republicans' investigations of the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, when she was secretary of state. (Boehner's office said Thursday night they coordinated with McCarthy before releasing the statement.)
Also Thursday, House oversight committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) — whose committee has handled some Benghazi matters — called on McCarthy to apologize for his "inappropriate" comments. (That's not good when it comes from your own party — and from a chairman, no less.) Tea party Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) made similar comments, as did tea party Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).
What's particularly interesting about McCarthy's comments is that what he said probably didn't surprise many people.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll in May found that 55 percent of Americans (including 51 percent of Democrats) think Clinton's handling of the Benghazi issue is a legitimate issue in the presidential election. But here's the rub: A 2014 Fox News poll found that 63 percent of Americans thought Republicans were investigating Benghazi mostly for political gains (compared to 30 percent who said it was mostly to get to the truth).
Either way, though, it's a mess, and it's certainly not how you want to waltz into what already promises to be a hugely stressful job that involves not only fending off Democrats but also many members of your own party. McCarthy will need every ounce of political capital, trust and respect he can get just to avoid a potential shutdown in December.
Boehner has said McCarthy "would make an excellent speaker." But as The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza wrote Wednesday, McCarthy's Benghazi comments throw into doubt his readiness as a leader and messenger.
Having your embattled predecessor clean up a mess before you've even started the job is, well, a pretty terrible start.