Ryan bows out: ‘I have given this job everything I have’

This 2017 file photos shows Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., joined at left by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 12, 2017 | Associated Press photo by J. Scott Applewhite, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) — Claiming he’s accomplished a “heckuva lot,” House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday he will not run for re-election and will retire next year, injecting another layer of uncertainty as Republicans face worries over losing their majority in the fall. Following the announcement, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, released a statement calling Ryan a “dear friend” and wishing him well.

The Wisconsin Republican cast the decision to end his 20-year career as a personal one, saying he did not want his children growing up with a “weekend dad.” He told reporters he believes he’s leaving with strong accomplishments his party can sell to voters ahead of November elections. A self-styled budget guru, Ryan had made tax cuts a centerpiece of his legislative agenda and a personal cause, and Congress delivered on that late last year.

“I have given this job everything I have,” he said. “We’re going to have a great record to run on.”

Ryan’s plans have been the source of much speculation and will set off a scramble among his lieutenants to take the helm. It will also fuel speculation that Ryan is eyeing a coming Democratic surge fueled by opposition to President Donald Trump that could wrest control of the House from Republicans’ grip. Several GOP veterans have announced plans to retire in recent months, and another, Rep. Dennis Ross of Florida, quickly followed Ryan on Wednesday.

Ryan, 48, first announced his plans at a closed-door meeting of House Republicans Wednesday morning. His tone was somber, and he read directly from prepared remarks. Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., said an emotional Ryan “choked up a few times trying to get through” his remarks to colleagues and received three standing ovations.

Moments later, Ryan told reporters that if he were to stay for one more term, his children — now all teens — would only know him as a weekend dad.

“I can’t let that happen,” he said.

The speaker called extended family and a few close friends Tuesday night and alerted a few staff. On Wednesday morning, he called the president and the vice president and informed the rest of his staff before going to the conference meeting, officials said.

Ryan, who has had a difficult relationship with Trump, thanked the president for giving him the chance to move the GOP ahead.

In response to the announcement, Sen. Hatch released the following statement praising Ryan:

Speaker Ryan has been a dear friend for a number of years, and I’m proud of everything we have been able to accomplish together. He didn’t ask for the job he has; he answered the call to serve and led us from one legislative victory to another. Our nation is better off today because of Paul Ryan. I wish him and Janna the very best as they prepare for the next chapter in their lives.

Ryan, a Republican from Janesville, Wisconsin, was first elected to Congress in 1998. Along with Reps. Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy, he branded himself a rising “Young Gun” in an aging party and a new breed of hard-charging Republican ready to shrink the size of government.

He became the GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012.

President Donald Trump smiles at the end of his addresses to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, as House Speaker Paul Ryan applauds. | Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/pool Image via Associated Press, St. George News

Ryan was pulled into the leadership job by the abrupt retirement of House Speaker John Boehner in 2015. Boehner had struggled to wrangle the chamber’s restless conservative wing and failed to the seal big-picture deals on fiscal policy he sought. Ryan had more trust with the hardliners in the House, but had no more success in brokering fundamental reform of entitlement he sought.

He ultimately had to wrestle with another unexpected challenge: President Donald Trump, a president with little of Ryan’s interest in policy detail or ideological purity. The two have had not had a close working relationship.

House Majority Leader McCarthy, a Republican from California known to be tighter with Trump, is expected to seeking the speaker post. He will likely compete with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, of Louisiana, for the job. Both men spoke at the closed-door meeting Wednesday, delivering tributes to Ryan.

In Wisconsin, the most likely Republican candidate is state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, multiple Republicans in the state said. Vos did not immediately return telephone or text messages.

Another Republican mentioned as a potential candidate is longtime Ryan family friend and Ryan backer Bryan Steil, an attorney and member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. Steil did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Democrat Randy Bryce, a colorful ironworker who has cultivated an “IronStache” moniker, had been Ryan’s best-known challenger, drawing liberal support from around the country. He had nearly $2.3 million in the bank at the end of the first quarter. Janesville teacher Cathy Myers was also running on the Democratic side. The only declared Republican was Paul Nehlen, who was banned from Twitter for a series of posts criticized as racist or anti-Semitic.

Written by CATHERINE LUCEY and LISA MASCARO, with Associated Press staff writers Alan Fram, Kevin Freking and Andy Taylor contributing from Washington. Scott Bauer contributed from Madison, Wisconsin, and Steve Karnowski contributed from Minneapolis.

St. George News contributed to this report from information provided by the Offices of Sens. Orrin Hatch.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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14 Comments

  • tcrider April 11, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Paul Ryan didn’t bow out, he is cowering out.
    some of the lead rats are jumping ship before she goes down.
    Don the Con, never my stinking pile

    • Utahguns April 11, 2018 at 11:29 am

      Wow….
      …… building a reputation of being an angry, misinformed, left wing kook, heh?
      What’s your attraction with fecal piles?

      • tcrider April 11, 2018 at 12:32 pm

        gun boy,
        you have to quit swallowing the chewing tobacco,
        didn’t your daddy cliven teach you anything? just
        calm down and spit it out.

  • comments April 11, 2018 at 11:21 am

    wow, the psychopathic darling of the mainstream republican party is throwing in the towel huh? I have a feeling this is by no means the last we’ll see of him. He’ll prob go to work as a lobbyist for israel or something and come back with a senate run in a couple years…

  • Brian April 11, 2018 at 11:31 am

    “I have given this job everything I have, and pillaged as much as I safely can…”

    I really liked Paul Ryan until he became speaker of the house. It’s incredible (and incredibly alarming) just how fast he changed into the Swamp Thing after that.

    One of the last red flags of a dying empire is when the honest politicians flee because they know they can’t change anything and it isn’t worth risking their families or souls trying in vain. You’re seeing that frequently in national politics right now, and I can’t say I blame them. I’m not saying Ryan fits this category. He probably already sold his soul…

  • GrandmaB April 11, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    Hatch has said he won’t run again. About 20 years late, just like with Ryan. The Tax bill, Ryan’s legacy is one of the most obscene documents ever to be voted on, and yet, there it is. Wonder when all the MAGA crew will finally figure that out. About the same time they figure out all the glaciers have all melted, the water is undrinkable, the air is unbreathable, and thirty 30% of the population destroyed this country. Congratulations Utah.

  • jaybird April 11, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    Meanwhile, in the wake of this “lifelong deficit hawk’s” departure, we’re all bracing for America’s looming debt avalanche, nearly $2 trillion on its way. Hold on to your butts my fellow Americans.

  • jaybird April 11, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    PS: due to his brave new tax cuts to the budget, the tax bill boondoggle.

  • Whatteverrr April 11, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    Bye! Felicia!

  • utahdiablo April 11, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    Don’t let the door hit your a$$ on your way out…. you worthless POS

  • Striker4 April 12, 2018 at 2:35 am

    enjoy your temporary retirement.. see ya soon

  • PatriotLiberal April 13, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Looking forward to hearing your input on Fox Opini…I mean Fox “News”

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