White House Denies Reports That Paul Ryan Will Leave Congress

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The White House denied reports that House Speaker Paul Ryan will resign from Congress, saying that the Speaker himself has assured President Trump that he won’t leave.

“The President did speak to the Speaker not too long ago and made sure that the Speaker knew very clearly, and in no uncertain terms, that if that news was true, he’d be very unhappy with it,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Thursday afternoon. “The Speaker assured the President that those were not accurate reports and that they looked forward to working together for a long time to come.”

The reports in question are a Huffington Post piece about rumors that Ryan will resign and a Politico story that noted that “in recent interviews with three dozen people who know the speaker — fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists — not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018.”

Ryan and his office have also denied the reports. “I’m not, no,” Ryan said Thursday when asked if he is leaving office soon. “This is pure speculation,” Ryan’s press secretary AshLee Strong tweeted. “As the speaker himself said today, he’s not going anywhere any time soon.”

Asked if the reports of Ryan’s resignation took Trump by surprise, Sanders smiled. “It sounds like it may have caught Speaker Ryan by surprise,” she said.

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Write to Tessa Berenson Rogers at tessa.Rogers@time.com