House Speaker Paul Ryan Won't Run For Reelection

Original post

Update II: Just minutes before Paul Ryan was supposed to begin his press conference (where he would purportedly announce his decision to retire), it appears President Trump has offered what appears to be an official confirmation.

“Speaker Paul Ryan is a good man, and while he will not be seeking re-election, he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question. We are with you Paul!”

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Update: Ryan will reportedly discuss his decision to retire at an impromptu press conference called for 10 am ET.

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Meanwhile, one of Ryan’s Congressional opponents, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, said Ryan is “a good man” who is “always true to his word.” He added that he hopes Ryan uses his time left in Congress to work with Democrats – and that Dems would be eager to work with Ryan if he is willing.

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Days after Paul Ryan reportedly laughed off rumors (allegedly sourced by Politico from interviews with 30 friends, colleagues and confidants) that he won’t be running for re-election in November, a literal deluge of reports hit Wednesday morning suggesting that an announcement from the speaker about his plans to retire instead of running again in the fall is imminent.

While Axios was first to report it, Politico, the New York Times, NBC News and CNN quickly confirmed.

CNN said Ryan is expected to address his plans during a closed-door meeting of the GOP conference Wednesday morning.

According to Axios, Ryan told a confidant he will soon announce that he won’t run for reelection in November. By not running, Ryan would essentially be quitting while he’s ahead since Democrats are expected to make significant gains in November, possibly even retaking the majorities in both chambers of Congress. The speaker apparently has little interest in serving as minority leader – a post he has never held.

Ryan

In a separate report published shortly after Axios went to press with its story, Politico said Ryan told two colleagues on Wednesday morning that he isn’t planning to run in the fall.

One Republican insider told Axios that Ryan’s decision would benefit his colleague, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

One of Washington’s best-wired Republicans said:

“This is a Titanic, tectonic shift. … This is going to make every Republican donor believe the House can’t be held.” The announcement will help Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in his fundraising because “the Senate becomes the last bastion,” the Republican said.

Ryan would serve out the rest of his term as speaker. Politico added that Steve Scalise – the Majority whip who was wounded during last year’s shooting at a Congressional baseball practice – would succeed Ryan as leader, bypassing Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Axios says Scalise and McCarthy are the two most likely candidates to succeed Ryan. The NYT said Ryan’s exist would trigger a “succession battle” between the two men.

“Friends” of Ryan say he’s ready to leave Congress now that he’s passed tax reform – a longtime dream. He’s also tired of the endless frustration of working with President Trump. While there’s no “good” time to leave, Ryan says he might as well bow out while he’s on top – and that he’s ready to live as a private citizen.

Of course, Ryan, who was the Republicans’ Vice Presidential nominee in 2012, hasn’t ruled out another run for the country’s highest office.

Ryan’s exit would contrast mightily with that of the previous Republican speaker, John Boehner. Reports that Boehner would leave (or, more accurately, that he was being pushed out by a mutiny of conservative Republicans) dribbled out for months before the speaker made his announcement the day after Pope Francis made a papal address to Congress in 2015. Unlike Boehner – who resigned his seat before leaving Congress altogether – Ryan would remain as speaker until he leaves office at the beginning of the next Congress (that is, assuming these reports are accurate and that he really is planning to retire).

Ryan wouldn’t be alone in his decision not to run: Dozens of Republican lawmakers in competitive districts have opted not to run again rather than risk being crushed by a Democratic wave. But his departure could inspire even more rank-and-file Republicans to throw in the tile, the NYT said.

But there is one similarity between the circumstances surrounding Boehner and Ryan’s exits. Both stood up for a version of Republicanism that, ultimately, lost out.