House Speaker Paul Ryan announced he will not run for re-election in November. The Wisconsin Republican and former Vice President candidate will have served three years as leader of the U.S. House of Representatives after he replaced John Boehner.
In a morning presser, Ryan seemed anxious to remind reporters he did not seek the leadership position in the first place and that he was not running for re-election to Congress because another term would mean his kids would have only known him as a weekend dad.
“You all know that I did not seek this job. I took it reluctantly,” he told reporters – again — at the press conference. “I have given it all that I have and have no regrets having accepted this responsibility. This has been one of the two greatest honors of my life.”
The other honor, he clarified, is being a husband and father. ” And that’s why today I am announcing that this year will be my last one as a member of the House.”
Passing the “tax reform” and hugely boosting military budget were his two proudest accomplishments, Ryan victory-lapped.
His office, in a statement, said Ryan will “run through the tape,” as though this was some sort of sporting event:
This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House. He will serve out his full term, run through the tape, and then retire in January. After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father. While he did not seek the position, he told his colleagues that serving as speaker has been the professional honor of his life, and he thanked them for the trust they placed in him. He will discuss his decision at a press conference immediately following the member meeting.
Politico wrote in December that Ryan saw his “wild Washington journey coming to an end,” which took about 30% of the surprise element away from this morning’s news. But the timing nonetheless took some by surprise, especially those who had expected Ryan to run for re-election, then retire after the mid-term elections.
Ryan credited his own good conscience for not going that route: “Just as my conscience is what got me to take this job in the first place, my conscience wouldn’t let me go out that way,” he simpered at his presser.
TV news pundits wasted no time telling viewers where to put their money in betting on who will replace Ryan; Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Friend of Trump, was ahead as of writing.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump issued his calmest tweet of the morning about Ryan’s exit, calling him a “truly good man” who leaves “a legacy of achievement that nobody can question” adding, “We are with you Paul!” That’s something, given that Ryan at one point during Trump’s candidacy, around the time the Washington Post posted Trump’s “grab ’em by the p*ssy” Access Hollywood tape, gave House Republicans his blessing to steer clear of the candidate.
And Trump prides himself on never forgetting a slight.