Even though Republican Speaker of House Paul Ryan claims he’s not running for president, he has a history of saying he’s not running when he actually is.
At a news conference, Paul Ryan stated, “Let me be clear. I do not want, nor will I accept, the nomination for our party.”
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Breitbart reported on five different occasions when Paul Ryan claimed he wasn’t running for Speaker of the House.
1. The Hill reported in September 2015:
Ryan, currently the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, had a succinct, one-word answer when asked if he wanted to succeed Boehner, following the Speaker’s stunning resignation on Friday morning: “No.” Asked why, the Wisconsin Republican said, “Because I don’t want to be Speaker.” […] “This is a job for an empty nester,” Ryan told reporters on Friday.
2. Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy from South Carolina told the New York Times:
“I asked him [Ryan] a while back if he would consider being the speaker. He put his hands on my shoulders and said, ‘I love you guys, but not enough to be your speaker.’”
3. The Huffington Post reported in October 2015:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he will not enter the race for House speaker. “While I am grateful for the encouragement I’ve received, I will not be a candidate,” Ryan said in a statement Thursday.
4. A Paul Ryan spokesman told NBC News in October 2015: “Chairman Ryan appreciates the support he’s getting from his colleagues but is still not running for Speaker.”
5. Breitbart reported on October 14th:
A spokesman for House Ways and Means Committee Paul Ryan confirms yet against that despite all the donor class and political establishment wooing, Ryan is not running to replace outgoing Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) as Speaker of the House. “His position has not changed and I cannot predict if it will,” Brendan Buck, Ryan’s spokesman, told Breitbart News on Wednesday afternoon.
Fellow writer Joe Scudder wasn’t quite convinced that Paul Ryan was actually running for president but offered up this analysis:
If Ryan was colluding with those who were talking of drafting him then it would be important for him to establish that he was “forced” to run because the Party needed him. In that case, holding a press conference that is covered widely as part of election story could work as campaigning.
This is such a politician thing to do. If Paul Ryan is not campaigning for president, he’s got an odd way of showing it. He’s releasing campaignesque videos, but constantly saying that he’s not running. It’s like reverse psychology.
Then, from the floor following a contested convention, Paul Ryan’s name will be put forth as a candidate, and the humble civil servant Paul Ryan will come and save the day. And he’d tell everyone that he never intended on seeking the office of presidency, but that he was called on by his fellow patriots to serve his country, and that he felt compelled to serve based on what he believed was his civil duty at that time.
Or, as Scudder remarked, he would be “’forced’ to run because the Party needed him.” And then he’d be compared to George Washington, “the reluctant president.”
This is all speculation of course. It could be that Ryan’s campaign is a Plan B of sorts, just in case the opportunity presents itself following a scenario at the convention where neither Cruz nor Trump gains a majority of delegates. Or if the RNC changed the rules at the last minute such that regardless of each candidate’s delegate numbers, the delegates were for whatever reason disqualified.