House speaker John Boehner pointedly sidestepped the White House on Wednesday, inviting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress on Iran next month and angering the Obama administration in the process.
Hours after President Obama warned Congress against passing sanctions on the Islamic theocracy over its nuclear program, Boehner revealed he had invited Netanyahu to Washington on February 11. The prime minister would address “the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.”
“There’s a serious threat that exists in the world and the president last night kind of papered over it,” Boehner said at a press conference Wednesday morning.
The speaker added that he did not consult the White House before making the invitation. “The Congress can make this decision on its own,” he said. ”I don’t believe I’m poking anyone in the eye.”
The White House disagreed. ”The protocol would suggest that the leader of one country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on an Air Force One flight to Idaho. “This particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol.”
The Times of Israel reports that Netanyahu has accepted the speaker’s February 11 invitation.