President Donald Trump responded Wednesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s announcement that he will not seek re-election in 2018.
Axios was the first to cover the news of Ryan’s plans, reporting Wednesday morning that Ryan told House Republicans he will step down when his current term is complete.
Ryan later confirmed the news in a statement put out by his office and on Twitter.
“This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House,” Ryan aide Brendan Buck said, according to CNN.
“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,” Buck added.
Serving as speaker has been one of my life’s great honors. I’m proud of all we’ve done & am ready for new prioritie… https://t.co/9H2E8CLK0Q
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 11, 2018
Ryan’s announcement comes after months of speculation regarding his plans, though the Wisconsin Republican had previously denied at least one report that he was going to step down.
But after the passage of monumental tax reform legislation, Ryan apparently felt it was time to go, particularly due to his frustrations with Trump and his concerns about potential GOP losses in the upcoming midterm elections, according to Axios.
Despite Ryan’s reported frustrations with the president, Trump praised the House speaker on Twitter, calling him a “truly good man” and noting that his “legacy of achievement” is unquestioned.
“Speaker Paul Ryan is a truly good man, and while he will not be seeking re-election, he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question,” Trump tweeted. “We are with you Paul!”
Speaker Paul Ryan is a truly good man, and while he will not be seeking re-election, he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question. We are with you Paul!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat who represents California, also praised Ryan, but in a much more measured manner.
“The Speaker has been an avid advocate for his point of view and for the people of his district,” Pelosi said in a statement, according to The New York Times. “Despite our differences, I commend his steadfast commitment to our country.”
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer encouraged Ryan to “reach across the aisle” during his final months in office.
“With his newfound political freedom, I hope the Speaker uses his remaining time in Congress to break free from the hard-right factions of his caucus that have kept Congress from getting real things done,” Schumer stated. “If he’s willing to reach across the aisle, he’ll find Democrats willing and eager to work with him.”
Now that Ryan is set to step down, many are wondering who will replace him as the leader of Republicans in the House. Axios reported that both House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise are candidates to take Ryan’s leadership spot.
But when asked by Fox News is he would run for the speakership, Scalise was noncommittal.
“We’re getting way ahead of ourselves. Obviously, there’s a lot of speculation, but I’ve been real clear for a long time, I don’t want to get into speculation,” he said, adding, “We’ve got to make sure we keep the majority.”
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