By Robert Laurie
Well, we’ve been hearing some variation of this rumor for almost six months, and now it’s official. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is calling it quits. He’ll finish out his term, but he will not seek re-election in November.
The story broke this morning over at Axios, and was first confirmed in a statement made by Brendan Buck, counselor to Speaker Ryan:
“This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House. He will serve out his full term, run through the tape, and then retire in January. After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father. While he did not seek the position, he told his colleagues that serving as speaker has been the professional honor of his life, and he thanked them for the trust they placed in him. He will discuss his decision at a press conference immediately following the member meeting.”
Some will look at the disastrous budget deal Ryan just supported and call this “draining the swamp.” Others will see it as a harbinger of GOP doom. Either way, love him or hate him, it’s hard to overstate what massive news this is, particularly in light of Ryan’s fundraising ability.
One of Washington’s best-wired Republicans said:
“This is a Titanic, tectonic shift. … This is going to make every Republican donor believe the House can’t be held.” The announcement will help Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in his fundraising because “the Senate becomes the last bastion,” the Republican said.
Friends say that after Ryan passed tax reform, his longtime dream, he was ready to step out of a job that has become endlessly frustrating, in part because of President Trump.
Friends say Ryan was contemplating a minority or slim majority and decided that there was no good time to leave — it was time for at least a stint in private life.
Here’s the man himself, via CBSNews:
“What I realize is if I am here for one more term, my kids will only have ever known me as a weekend dad. I just can’t let that happen,” House Speaker Paul Ryan says https://t.co/gnArHDJCAw pic.twitter.com/F67RyuwZvc
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 11, 2018
We’ll have more as it develops, since this is likely to trigger fallout in every corner of Washington DC.