House Speaker Paul Ryan put to rest any lingering hopes that he would jump into the Republican presidential race on Tuesday, saying in a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, “count me out.”
“Let me be clear: I do not want, nor will I accept the Republican nomination,” Ryan said. “I am not going to be our party’s nominee.”
Ryan said he was aware of “more speculation” that someone not currently running would be the GOP nominee during his recent trip to the Middle East. But he said his role in the House is too critical to allow such rumors to continue.
“We have too much work to do in the House to allow this speculation swirl or have my motivations questioned,” he said. “As Speaker of the House, I believe I have not just an opportunity, but an obligation to advance [the] debate.”
Ryan, who will chair the national summer convention, also directly addressed party delegates about a possible brokered convention.
“If no candidate has a majority on the first ballot, I believe that you should only choose from a person who has actually participated in the primary. Count me out,” he said.
The House Speaker went on to say he believes you should choose to run for President if you wish to be considered, which he has not.
“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,” he said. “So, let me say again, I’m not going to be our party’s nominee.”
Ryan was long viewed as a possible white knight for a party caught between a rock and a hard place, otherwise known as Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
The Tuesday press conference was also far from the first time Ryan has forcefully denied any intention of running for the party’s nomination, even in the event of a brokered summer convention.
But after Ryan’s office put out a policy-focused video spot last week that looked an awful lot like a campaign ad, rumors again swirled that Ryan would charge into the race.
The Wisconsin congressman has clashed with party frontrunner Donald Trump, and been forced to publicly admonish the billionaire for his delayed denouncement of an endorsement from a former KKK leader and his proposed ban on Muslim immigration.
This post has been updated.