Speaker Ryan: 'I Do Not Want, Nor Will I Accept The Republican Nomination'

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Apr 12, 2016 3:30 PM
Speaker Ryan: 'I Do Not Want, Nor Will I Accept The Republican Nomination'

Earlier this afternoon, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan put to rest rumors that he would be running for president, and told members of the press “to count me out” regarding a possible 2016 campaign. At his news conference on Capitol Hill, he added that he has too much work to do in the House to let this speculation fester.

“Let me be clear: I do not want, nor will I accept the Republican nomination,” said the speaker. “So let me speak directly to the delegates on this: If no candidate has a majority on the first ballot, I believe you should only choose a person who actually participated in the primary. Count me out.”

He added, “I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee – to be the president – you should actually run for it. I chose not to. Therefore, I should not be considered. Period.”

The speaker also noted that there is another debate going on that goes beyond the 2016 candidates–it’s the direction we want our country to take. As a consequence of that debate, Speaker Ryan said that he’s not going to be the Republican nominee, but he’s not going to evaporate into the ether. Given his platform, he said he has an obligation to foster and move that debate forward. Upon his election to the speakership, Ryan said he was focused on formulating a policy-based agenda to counter the Democratic Party’s vision of this country, which is grounded in larger government, more taxes, more regulations, a less secure border, and less jobs.

He concluded by saying, “This job provides a platform to communicate a conservative vision for our country. And I’m intent on using it. Not for me, but for my House colleagues and for all those who believe that conservatism holds the key to a more confident America.”

“This is a critical role that has to be played and I am in a position to play it. To prepare for a Fall campaign with our nominee that gives a clear and compelling choice to our fellow citizens so we can earn the mandate to get things right.... to fix our problems and get our country back on track,” he added.

His full remarks here:

I just returned from a weeklong trip to the Middle East to meet with our allies and partners there. We had some important conversations about ISIS, the security threat in that region, and those around the world

But I’ll tell you, it’s amazing how closely our politics is followed overseas. I was asked about it everywhere I went.

I’m also aware that while I was overseas there was more speculation that someone other than the current candidates will emerge as our party’s nominee.

I want to put that to rest once and for all.

As you all know, I’ve stayed out of this race and remained neutral. As chairman of the Republican convention, my job is to ensure that there’s integrity in the process… that the rules are followed by the book.

That means it’s not my job to tell the delegates what to do. But I've got a message to relay today.

We have too much work to do in the House to allow this speculation to swirl or have my motivations questioned.

Let me be clear: I do not want, nor will I accept the Republican nomination.

So let me speak directly to the delegates on this: If no candidate has a majority on the first ballot, I believe you should only choose a person who actually participated in the primary. Count me out.

I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee – to be the president – you should actually run for it. I chose not to. Therefore, I should not be considered. Period.

I just think it would be wrong to go any other way.

So, let me say again, I’m not going to be our party’s nominee.

But I’ll also be clear about something else: not running does not mean I’m going to disappear.

When I accepted this speakership, I did so on the condition that I would do things differently than they were in the past. For one, I made clear that this would be a policy and communications-focused speakership. And secondly, I made clear that we would put together a policy agenda and offer a clear choice to the American people.

That’s what I told my colleagues I would do, and it’s exactly what I’ve done.

Look, there is a big debate going on right now. It’s about what kind of country we’re going to be.

As Speaker of the House, I believe I have not just an opportunity, but an obligation to advance that debate.

As I’ve talked about before, politics today tends to drift toward personality contests, not policy contests. Insults get more ink than ideas.

But we still owe it the county to show what we would do if given a mandate from the people. We have an obligation to give a clear picture – a clear choice. To talk about solutions.

That’s why I’ve been giving speeches, that’s why I’ve been communicating a vision for what our party and country can be. And I’m going to continue doing it.

I believe we can once again be that optimistic party that is defined by a belief in the limitless possibility of our people. We want to be a party defined by solutions... by being on the side of the people. We want to take our principles and apply them to the problems of the day.

Embrace free enterprise and reject cronyism… Promote upward mobility… Provide solutions for those stuck in poverty… Offer a tax code that rewards hard work, not the well connected… A strong and focused military… A health care system that promotes choice and flexibility… A secure border… A government that allows people to fulfill the American idea – that the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life.

That’s the kind of agenda we’re building right now and will release in the next couple months.

This job provides a platform to communicate a conservative vision for our country. And I’m intent on using it. Not for me, but for my House colleagues and for all those who believe that conservatism holds the key to a more confident America.

This is a critical role that has to be played and I am in a position to play it. To prepare for a Fall campaign with our nominee that gives a clear and compelling choice to our fellow citizens so we can earn the mandate to get things right....to fix our problems and get our country back on track.