In what is becoming an almost weekly ritual of the 2016 election, House Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday emphatically rejected the idea that he would accept the Republican presidential nomination if the GOP convention this summer becomes deadlocked.
“I do believe people put my name in this thing, and I say, 'Get my name out of that,'” the Wisconsin lawmaker, who is visiting Israel, said during an interview with “The Hugh Hewitt Show." "If you want to be president, you should go run for president. And that’s just the way I see it.
“I’m not that person. I’d like to think my face is somewhat fresh, but I’m not for this conversation. I think you need to run for president if you’re going to run for president, and I’m not running for president. Period, end of story.”
Ryan made a similar ‘Shermanesque’ statement to The Times of Israel over the weekend. “I decided not to run for president,” he said. “I think you should run if you’re going to be president. I think you should start in Iowa and run to the tape.”
Yet despite Ryan’s repeated dismissals, top Republicans can’t stop themselves from talking about the idea of having their 2012 vice presidential nominee at the top of the ticket.
"He's the most conservative, least establishment member of the establishment," a GOP source told Politico. "That's what you need to be."
Despite his public claims, Ryan has, at times, fed the speculation. He received national media coverage last month for his “State of American Politics” speech, an address aimed at raising the tone above the venomous, sometimes vulgar, talk that has come to dominate the GOP presidential primary.
Ryan, 46, has also not shied away from taking on Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, like when the real estate mogul proposed to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. “This is not conservatism,” Ryan said at the time. “What was proposed yesterday is not what this Party stands for….”
He has since called the former reality TV star out, though usually not by name, on several more occasions, such as when Trump was slow to disavow support from former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke.
That Ryan has taken shots at Trump and lived to talk about it has led some within the GOP to believe he has a strong enough jaw to survive a floor flight when Republicans gather in Cleveland in July. Ryan is slated to serve as chair for the convention.
Buzz is already building that the convention will be unlike any in recent history, with Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) and Ohio Governor John Kasich all prepping for an open meeting that could see multiple ballots before any of them garner the 1,237 delegates needed to capture the nomination.
In fact, Trump and Cruz, who have been at each other’s throats for weeks, are teaming up to keep Kasich off the ballot at the convention, according to NBC News. The thinking is that a two-man race would benefit both camps.
The overlapping interests show that the idea of horse-trading is very much on the minds of the Republicans months before the convention gavels in, ensuring that talk about Ryan being drafted, much the way he was for the speakership after the surprise retirement announcement by his predecessor John Boehner, will continue.