Paul Ryan still isn’t running for president.
In a Capitol Hill press conference on Tuesday, the speaker of the House insisted yet again: “I do not want nor will I accept the nomination for our party.”
The Republican party’s nominee for vice-president in 2012, Ryan had long been considered a rising star in the party and was considered to be a potential white knight in the case of a contested convention where no candidate could receive a majority. However, he ruled himself out as well as any other candidate who had not sought the party’s nomination.
“So let me speak directly to the delegates on this: if no candidate has a majority on the first ballot, I believe you should only choose a person who actually participated in the primary. Count me out.”
“I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee – to be the president – you should actually run for it. I chose not to. Therefore, I should not be considered. Period.”
Ryan’s statement not only disqualified him but other potential alternatives like Mitt Romney.
Despite the fact that Ryan had been outright Shermanesque in his denials of a presidential bid (a reference to civil war hero William Tecumseh Sherman who famously said in 1884 “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected” when he was being considered as a possible Republican candidate), he had previously insisted that he wouldn’t run to be speaker of the House. However, Ryan eventually was forced to run after no other candidate could rally sufficient support from House Republicans following John Boehner’s resignation in 2015.
He compared the difference between the two situations to “apples and oranges” to reporters on Tuesday. “I was already in the House, already a congressman,” Ryan said.
Ryan went on to urge the RNC rules committee to put “put in place a rule that you can only nominate someone who actually ran for the job”. If so, that would limit the pool of potential candidates in the case of an open convention to the 17 Republicans who ran for the White House at some point in the past year.
Even though he is not running for president, Ryan will still play an important role at the Republican National Convention in July. As speaker of the House, RNC rules make him the chair of the convention and he will ultimately decide on any procedural challenges on the floor.
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