Paul Ryan blindsided Republicans with his announcement that he will be exiting his position as House Speaker at the end of his current term. That’s right; no midterm election. We have more details here.
UPDATE: Speaker Ryan addressed reporters during a Wednesday, April 11 press conference, stating, “Serving as speaker has been one of my life’s great honors. I’m proud of all we’ve done and I’m ready for new priorities.” He also thanked President Trump, calling serving during his administration “an honor.”
“It’s a big job with a lot riding on you and you feel it. You realize you hold the office for a small part of our history… and I think we have achieved a heck of a lot,” Ryan said at the morning news conference. I did not seek this job. I took it reluctantly. But I have given this job everything I have,” he said. “To be clear, I am not resigning. I will serve my full term as I was elected to do.”
ORIGINAL: Paul Ryan told his close confidants that he will be retiring from his position as House Speaker when his term ends in January 2019. Ryan, 48, later released a statement through Counselor to the Speaker, Brendan Buck, saying:
“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 see 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.”
President Donald Trump tweeted after the announcement, “Speaker Paul Ryan is a truly 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!”
Ryan’s statement came immediately after reports surfaced about his retirement. Anonymous sources who spoke to Axios “with knowledge of the conversations” first leaked the news, with The Associated Press then corroborating the reports with “two [anonymous] people with knowledge of the Wisconsin lawmaker’s thinking.”
Ryan not running for re-election would have dire consequences for the Republican party. House Republicans are already in a precarious position during the 2018 midterms, with Democrats having a good chance of achieving majority.
One of “Washington’s best-wired Republicans” told Axios that Ryan retiring would be a “Titanic, tectonic shift. … This is going to make every Republican donor believe the House can’t be held. His decision to exit only fuels that fire. While Ryan said he’s leaving to spend more time with his family, it’s also possible that he didn’t want to take the loss to democrats or preside over a slim majority.
There is no word on possible replacements for Ryan at this point, but Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the leader of the conservative Freedom Caucus, suggested to reporters that the race to find his successor will begin now. “They won’t wait for nine months,” he said. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) have reportedly started to quietly plant the seeds within the House to be considered for Ryan’s empty seat.
This story is still developing. HollywoodLife will keep you updated as more information becomes available.