Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who is no fan of the current Republican presidential frontrunners, said he was “at a loss” on Tuesday after House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) formally announced that he would not accept if the party nominated him.
“I’m at a loss, OK? I do not know what’s going to happen,” the Arizona senator told Bloomberg Politics. “I just don’t see that a lot of it’s going to turn out well. Because there are too many divisions within our party.”
McCain spokeswoman Rachael Dean told TPM on Wednesday that his comments should not be read as a direct response to the Speaker’s announcement.
“As Senator McCain has stated, he is not supporting or endorsing any candidate in the Republican primary at this point,” Dean said in an emailed statement. “In this exchange, Senator McCain was not reacting to Speaker Ryan’s speech but to the 2016 presidential race in general.”
Ryan stuck a pin through the hopes of establishment Republicans on Capitol Hill when he unequivocally told the press during a last-minute news conference to “count me out” of consideration. Rumors that a white knight Ryan could ride into a contested GOP convention to rescue the party from two divisive leading candidates had been circulating for months.
McCain had not publicly promoted Ryan as a preferable alternative to Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), but he had shared unfavorable opinions of both candidates. The Arizona senator questioned whether Cruz being born in Canada rendered him ineligible to run for president and has repeatedly called Trump’s foreign policy views “dangerous” for the U.S.
With Ryan out of the running and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) far behind in the race to secure delegates ahead of the July convention in Cleveland, McCain appeared despondent.
“We’ve got so many problems—there are a myriad of problems. None of this is going to turn out well for the Republican Party,” McCain told Bloomberg.