House Speaker Paul Ryan is officially out of the running for the Republican presidential bid.
“Let me be clear: I do not want nor will I accept the nomination for our party,” Ryan said at a new conference Tuesday at the Republican National Committee’s headquarters on Capitol Hill.
“I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee for our party, to be the president you should actually run for it,” he said. “I chose not to do this.”
The news conference followed consistent chatter of whether Ryan would eventually consider the nomination, even though he has consistently said he will not be running.
Donald Trump and Ted Cruz’s battle for delegates for the upcoming summer convention is heating up. Some within the establishment have said they will go for any candidate as long as it’s not Trump, which had put Ryan in the hot seat.
But even as Ryan said he won’t be president – won’t even allow his name to be called on a second ballot at the convention – he made it clear that he is not “going to disappear, either.”
“There is a big debate going on right now about what kind of country we are going to be,” Ryan said. “As speaker of the House, I believe that I do not just have an opportunity but an obligation to advance this debate.”
Ryan released a campaign-like video, “Politics These Days,” on his website that offer the message of unifying Republicans and Democrats on April 7, leading some to speculate it was a subtle campaign plug.
There is a big debate going on right now about what kind of country we are going to be.
House Speaker Paul Ryan
“What really bothers me the most about politics these days is this notion of identity politics: that we’re going to win an election by dividing people, rather than inspiring people on our common humanity and our common ideals and our common culture on the things that should unify us,” Ryan said in the 43-second video.
Ryan was first elected into the House in 1998, and became House speaker after John Boehner stepped down this past October, a position that Ryan apparently had no interest in accepting until he received pressure to do so.
Asked about the similarities at the news conference, Ryan immediately answered with: “Apples and oranges.”
“Apples and oranges, being speaker of the House is a far cry from being president of the United States, specifically because I was already in the House,” Ryan said. “ . . . that is entirely different than getting the nomination for president of the United States from your party without even running.”
Jess Nocera: 202-383-6022, @JessMNocera