Former House Speaker John Boehner and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor downplayed the rumors that House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) resignation is imminent, according to a Washington Post report Thursday.
“The idea that he’s going to walk out of there in the middle of the fight is ludicrous,” Boehner, Ryan’s predecessor, told the Post on Wednesday.
Cantor, in a separate telephone interview Wednesday with the Post, said “absolutely not” when asked about the Ryan retirement rumors.
“The notion that Paul Ryan is just going to abdicate and leave is preposterous,” Cantor told the paper.
Boehner and Cantor’s comments were a direct response to remarks from Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), who told a local news outlet Monday that the Capitol Hill “rumor mill” suggests Ryan is “getting ready to resign in the next 30 to 60 days” and that Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) would replace him.
According to a Politico report Thursday, Scalise said that while he “wouldn’t rule out” a bid for speaker if the opportunity arose, the talk surrounding Ryan’s retirement are just “rumors.” For now, Scalise told Politico that he remains focused on “working with President Trump to advance a conservative agenda.”
On Tuesday, Ryan’s spokesperson AshLee Strong told TPM that “the speaker is not resigning.”
The Post noted that both former House GOP leaders find the idea of Ryan resigning to be “blasphemy” largely due to “Ryan’s sense of duty” and “what it would say about the Republican chances in November” for the midterm elections.
While Cantor believes Ryan’s resignation would be a “signal of surrender,” Boehner argued that “Paul’s a stand-up guy” who’s “going to be the leader of the team all the way through the election.”
According to the Post, if Republicans lose the majority come November, Ryan has “little interest” in serving as minority leader.
Both Boehner and Cantor suspect that Ryan will “do what’s best for him, for [his wife] Janna” when it comes to the House Speaker’s post-midterms plans.
This post has been updated.