House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reportedly asked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) to “step up” and run to replace him, as House Republicans entered into a new phase of turmoil Thursday.
The Washington Post’s Robert Costa reported that Boehner reached out to Ryan amid a day that saw Boehner’s designated successor, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), unexpectedly drop out of the race.
Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee who is now the chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, has repeatedly shot down any interest in the position. He did so when Boehner resigned two weeks ago and again on Thursday, minutes after McCarthy collectively stunned Washington and dropped out.
“Kevin McCarthy is best person to lead the House, and so I’m disappointed in this decision. Now it is important that we, as a Conference, take time to deliberate and seek new candidates for the speakership. While I am grateful for the encouragement I’ve received, I will not be a candidate,” Ryan said in a statement Thursday.
“I continue to believe I can best serve the country and this conference as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.”
Ryan also chose to forego a bid for a leadership position in 2014, when then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor unexpectedly lost his congressional seat in a primary challenge.
Spokespeople for Boehner and Ryan didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday. Ryan, according to Costa, is “undecided” and “listening” to the overtures.
Costa reported that Ryan has also become McCarthy’s pick for speaker. And Boehner is reportedly telling those close to him that it “has to be” Ryan. One GOP aide, when asked earlier in the day by Business Insider what might happen after McCarthy’s sudden reversal, said something similar.
“Probably has to be” Ryan, the aide said.