POLITICS
05/14/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

John Boehner: I Wouldn't Close Gitmo 'If You Put A Gun To My Head'

Last week there was increased chatter of a deal being brokered by the White House and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). In exchange for dropping efforts to try 9/11 plotters in federal court in New York, the South Carolina Republican would help deliver GOP support for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Neither political party has embraced these informal negotiations. But the strength of the opposition was laid out on Sunday, when House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced that he wouldn't support appropriating money for closing Gitmo even if a gun was pointed at his head.

"We have a world-class facility at Guantanamo," Boehner said on CNN's "State of the Union." "They keep saying they are going to [close it]. They want $500 million from this Congress to rehabilitate this prison in northwest Illinois. I want to see who the members are who are going to vote for this. I wouldn't vote for this if you put a gun to my head."

Boehner went on to argue that the appropriate avenue for the administration was to hold military tribunals for terrorist suspects "right there at Guantanamo." Anything less, he added, would "increase the threat level here" because if terrorist were brought to a domestic location "their friends may want to come."

It was all a bit hyperbolic. But that's how Republicans (save, perhaps, Graham, who has taken heat from Republicans for his stance) have approached the debate. Civil liberty groups and progressives, for all the passion that they have brought to the idea of holding civilian trials and getting Gitmo closed, have not been backed with much, if any, emotional or political commitment from Congressional Democrats.