House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan said Tuesday that he adamantly refused to accept the Republican nomination for president, even if a deadlocked convention tries to place his name into nomination in July.
“Let me be clear, I do not want, nor will I accept, the nomination for our party,” Ryan said at the Republican National Committee offices in Washington, D.C., this afternoon.
Ryan has unsuccessfully tried to tamp down speculation that he would accept the nomination if he was pressed into service by Republican delegates at the summer convention in Cleveland.
“I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee for our party, to be the president, you should actually run for it. I chose not to do this. Therefore, I should not be considered, period, end of story,” he said today.
Ryan’s attempt to shut down presidential rumors has been met with skepticism, since just last fall he refused multiple times to run for Speaker of the House before ultimately accepting the job. He reversed his decision after Republican party leaders and donors pressed him.
When challenged by reporters about the similarities, Ryan dismissed comparisons to his refusal to run for Speaker as an “apples and oranges” difference.
“I will not allow my name,” he said. “I am opposed to my name being put in place.”
Ryan also voiced support for a rule at the convention that only a person who ran for president would be allowed to win the nomination.
However, Ryan’s own actions make clear he wants a role in directing the future of the Republican party, especially after presidential candidate Donald Trump earned frontrunner status after several of the early state primaries.
In his statement, Ryan indicated that he would continue efforts to promote the Republican agenda.
“Not running does not mean I’m going to disappear,” he said. “As Speaker of the House, I believe that I have not just an opportunity but an obligation to advance that debate.”
Campaign quality highlight videos of his agenda from his communications staff only fueled speculation that Ryan was positioning himself for something bigger.
He admitted that his efforts had contributed to speculation about his intentions, but insisted that it was not about running for president.
“We have too much work to do in the House to allow this speculation to swirl or to have my motivations questioned,” he explained.