Illinois Senator Dick Durbin said on his Facebook page this weekend that a top House Republican leader told President Barack Obama, “I cannot even stand to look at you” during negotiations over the government shutdown.
“Many Republicans searching for something to say in defense of the disastrous shutdown strategy will say President Obama just doesn't try hard enough to communicate with Republicans,” Durbin wrote. “What are the chances of an honest conversation with someone who has just said something so disrespectful?”
Both the White House and House Speaker John Boehner have denied the incident occurred.
Durbin did not offer any additional details as to who made the remark or when the meeting occurred. MSNBC reported this morning that Senate Majority Whip Durbin would name another senator today who would back up his story.
It remains unclear to what Durbin was referring, the Huffington Post reported. During the shutdown, Obama met with congressional leaders from both parties, a delegation of House Republicans, House Democrats, Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans, all in separate meetings.
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Boehner, an Ohio Republican, called on Durbin to back up his allegation. “Senator Durbin's accusation is a serious one, and it appears to have been invented out of thin air. The senator should disclose who told him this account of events, retract his reckless allegation immediately, and apologize.”
At his daily briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the incident never happened.
Despite the denial from the White House and Republican calls for an explanation, Durbin spokesman Max Gleischman told The Huffington Post later Wednesday, “Sen. Durbin stands by his comments.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.