House Speaker Paul Ryan sought to shut down speculation on Tuesday that he might become the Republican presidential nominee in the event of a contested convention.
“I do not want, nor will I accept the Republican nomination,” Ryan said during a news conference at the Republican National Committee.
“If no candidate has a majority on the first ballot, I believe you should only choose a person who actually participated in the primary. Count me out.”
Asked whether this is any different from the sequence of events that followed when he originally declined after being asked to take up the speakership, Ryan said it was like comparing “apples and oranges.”
“Being Speaker of the House is a far cry from being President of the United States,” he said, adding that he was already a representative in the U.S. House when he accepted the position of speaker and he is not a presidential candidate now.
Efforts by Ryan in recent weeks to speak out as a leader for the Republican party have fueled speculation that he will emerge as a “white knight” following a divisive and inconclusive Republican primary. He released a video last week encouraging unity and touting his agenda for the House GOP that played like a campaign ad. But Ryan and his aides have continued to deny that the the speaker has any interest in the nomination.
“We have an obligation to give a clear picture, a clear choice. To talk about solutions,” Ryan said Tuesday. “That’s why I’ve been giving speeches, that’s why I’ve been communicating a vision for what our party and country can be. And I’m going to continue doing it.”