April 13 (UPI) — Speaker Paul Ryan said he and other members of the Republican leadership support Rep. Kevin McCarthy to take the top spot in the House when Ryan retires in November.
Ryan announced earlier this week he would not see re-election this year, preferring instead to spend more time with his family. He his support behind his current deputy, House Republican leader McCarthy of California, to take over as House speaker.
“We all think Kevin is the right person to become speaker,” Ryan said in an interview to air Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. “I fully anticipate handing the gavel over to the next speaker of the House after this term, and I think Kevin’s the right guy to step up.”
Ryan said he believes there will be a “seamless transition” from him to the next speaker.
“I think what we want to do is focus on getting our jobs done, what we want to do is focus on executing our agenda, focus on fighting for our majority, and all these other things would be needless distractions from the task at hand,” Ryan said.
Asked if President Donald Trump also endorses McCarthy in the top leadership role, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president has “a great relationship” with McCarthy.
“But in terms of an announcement about who he wants to see as the next speaker, I don’t have any announcements on that front,” she told reporters during Friday’s daily press briefing.
Ryan, 48, leaves Congress after nearly two decades as a representative of Wisconsin. He succeeded Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, as speaker in 2015. McCarthy was elected to Congress in 2014 and has served as House Republican leader since 2014.