CAPITOL HILL - U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan took an unusual step Tuesday, holding a news conference in front of a room packed with reporters and cameras to announce that he was NOT going to do something: seek or accept the Republican nomination for president of the United States.
Speaking at Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill, the Wisconsin representative said speculation that he could emerge from a potential contested convention as the nominee even followed him on his recent tour of the Middle East. He said it was time to put the rumors to rest.
"Let me be clear: I do not want, nor will I accept, the Republican nomination," Ryan said. For added emphasis he said, "Count me out."
Still staying active
Ryan said he believed that the person who becomes the Republican Party’s nominee should be someone who actually ran for president, and he chose not to run, so he should not be considered. He said this did not mean that he was going to disappear. He said he would continue to speak out because there is a big debate about what direction the country should take. Ryan said he thought Republicans could again be an optimistic party and promote upward mobility and conservative solutions to poverty.
The speculation about Ryan secretly waiting to be a “savior” at the convention started when some Republicans made it known that they were not happy with front-runner Donald Trump or Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Ohio Governor John Kasich is also still in the race but is far behind his two rivals in the delegate count.
In an interview earlier Tuesday, Ryan laughed when asked whether he was working behind the scenes to "steal" the GOP nomination away from Trump or Cruz.
"No, I am not," he told a Milwaukee radio station. "This is just amazing. It is just amazing how these things keep going. I am going to try again today to put this to bed."
Some Republican lawmakers have expressed concern that Trump or Cruz might lose badly in the general election, hurting other Republican candidates running for House and Senate seats on the same ballot. Trump is complaining bitterly about the way the party is allocating delegates and has said that if he has the most delegates and is not given the nomination, there might be riots.
To win the Republican nomination outright on the first ballot, a candidate has to win 1,237 delegates. The Republican National Convention will be held July 18-21 in Cleveland.