House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday dismissed speculation about his possible retirement reported earlier in the day.
Asked at the end of his weekly press conference whether he was leaving Congress “soon,” Ryan chuckled and replied as he walked off the stage: “I’m not, no.”
Politico and The Huffington Post published reports speculating that Ryan would make this two-year congressional term his last or even resign after lawmakers approved the $1.5 trillion tax bill, which could happen next week.
Politico published a story detailing what it said Ryan, 47, has told confidants — that he will retire after the 2018 midterm election and that "this will be his final term.”
But Ryan’s spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, called the Politico report “pure speculation,” saying, “As the speaker himself said today, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also said President Donald Trump called Ryan and said he’d be unhappy if Ryan left Congress.
“The speaker assured the president that those were not accurate reports and that they look forward to working together for a long time to come,” Sanders said.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., an obvious candidate for the top GOP job if Ryan leaves, dismissed the rumors as well.
“The speaker is not retiring,” McCarthy told reporters. “He enjoys his job. He loves it.”
Ryan, his party’s 2012 vice presidential candidate, was initially reluctant to take the speaker’s post. It calls for long hours meeting with colleagues to line up votes or address other problems and frequent fundraising trips for the party. Ryan has three young children and initially said he was uninterested in being speaker, calling it a job for empty-nesters.