Speaker John Boehner's office is demanding an apology from Sen. Dick Durbin for his Facebook allegation that an anonymous GOP House leader told President Obama during a meeting amid the government shutdown, "I cannot even stand to look at you."
Boehner's office is pointing out that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday—in response to a question from The New York Times—has said of the incident, "It did not happen."
"Senator Durbin's accusation is a serious one, and it appears to have been invented out of thin air," said a Boehner spokesman, Brendan Buck, in a statement.
Buck added, "The senator should disclose who told him this account of events, retract his reckless allegation immediately, and apologize."
There was no immediate response from Durbin's office. As the majority whip, the Illinois senator is the second-ranking Democratic leader in the Senate.
Durbin, in posting the remark Sunday, argued that such a remark made to the president—by a House Republican leader—made negotiations even more difficult.
"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. But in a 'negotiation' meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told the president: 'I cannot even stand to look at you,' " wrote Durbin.
"What are the chances of an honest conversation with someone who has just said something so disrespectful?" Durbin's posting asked.
This article appears in the October 24, 2013, edition of NJ Daily.