Following reports indicating that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is seriously considering retiring from Congress, a spokeswoman for the speaker said that he is “not going anywhere anytime soon.”
First, quote me: “This is pure speculation. As the speaker himself said today, he’s not going anywhere any time soon.” Next, check @BrendanBuck's twitter feed for better re/ax.
— AshLee Strong (@AshLeeStrong) December 14, 2017
Strong indicated that Brendan Buck, a counselor to Ryan, would have additional comment, but he had not yet weighed in early Thursday afternoon.
Ryan also addressed speculation that he is thinking about retiring on Thursday. Asked as he was leaving his weekly press briefing whether he was quitting any time soon, Ryan replied, “I’m not.”
Two recent reports sparked the speculation.
The Huffington Post reported on Wednesday night that Republicans in Congress have been hearing rumors and speculation that Ryan will step aside soon now that he’s on the cusp of passing tax cuts, a long-held dream of his.
Politico followed up Thursday afternoon reporting that Ryan has told confidants that this will be his final term as speaker and that he’s considering retiring from Congress altogether at the end of this congress. Per Politico:
More recently, over closely held conversations with his kitchen cabinet, Ryan’s preference has become clear: He would like to serve through Election Day 2018 and retire ahead of the next Congress.
After the Politico report dropped, CNN published a report that Ryan has been “soul searching” about his future with close friends, and that those friends think it’s possible Ryan could leave Congress after the 2018 election.
Asked about the reports that Ryan is considering retirement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday afternoon that Trump spoke with Ryan recently and that the speaker assured him that the reports were not accurate.
“The President did speak to the speaker not too long ago, and made sure that the speaker knew very clearly, in no uncertain terms, that if that news was true he was very unhappy with it. The speaker has assured the President that those were not accurate reports, and they look forward to working together for a long time to come,” Sanders told reporters at the daily press briefing.