Boehner ‘skeptical’ of Russia plan on Syria 'because of the actors that are involved'

Chris Moody
·Political Reporter
FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2013, file photo House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listens as President Barack Obama speaks to media in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. As lawmakers end their five-week recess, they will plunge into an emotional debate over whether to bomb Syria. No member of Congress is in a tighter spot than Boehner, who risks seeing most of his Republican colleagues vote against him on three major issues, Syria, the debt limit, and immigration reform. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2013, file photo House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listens as President Barack Obama speaks to media in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. As lawmakers end their five-week recess, they will plunge into an emotional debate over whether to bomb Syria. No member of Congress is in a tighter spot than Boehner, who risks seeing most of his Republican colleagues vote against him on three major issues, Syria, the debt limit, and immigration reform. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

House Speaker John Boehner is “skeptical” about an offer from the Russian government for a diplomatic solution to avoid a U.S. attack on Syria.

“Clearly, diplomacy is always a better outcome than military action. But I will say I’m somewhat skeptical of those that are involved in the diplomatic discussion today,” Boehner said Tuesday of the Russian plan to have Syrian President Bashar Assad relinquish his chemical weapons to international control.

Boehner’s comments echoed President Barack Obama’s remarks about the Russian solution. In interviews Monday evening, the president said Syria’s potential willingness to give up its chemical arsenal would represent a “significant breakthrough," but cautioned that “you have to take it with a grain of salt.”

“We have to be skeptical because this is not how we've seen them operate over the last couple of years,” Obama told NBC News.

Obama is planning to speak to Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the Senate, many of whom are skeptical of the need for a military strike, on Capitol Hill Tuesday. He is also scheduled to deliver an address from the White House Tuesday night.

Boehner, who has supported Obama’s call for military action against Syria since he first asked Congress for approval earlier this month, offered the same reason for his hesitancy to support the possible deal.

“I’m skeptical of it because of the actors that are involved,” Boehner said. “It’s as simple as that.”