Rumors are running rampant this week that Paul Ryan might step down as Speaker of the House right after the presidential election on Tuesday.
“Why would he put himself in a situation where as few as 10 dissident members or one ill-timed quote from Trump could put his future in jeopardy?” one unnamed GOP lawmaker asked The Hill.
Western Journalism reported that the politician meant that maintaining the speakership could lead to Ryan inadvertently humiliating himself if he loses the floor vote in a landslide. He could also end up being slammed by Donald Trump for costing him the election.
“[If] you talk to members from the South, many will struggle to vote for him — even though they like him — because their constituents are furious over his treatment of Trump,” the lawmaker said.
The premise of this is that if Trump does indeed lose the election, part of the blame would be on Ryan, and any more attention on him would highlight this to the American public. Another anonymous Republican said Ryan didn’t even want the job in the first place.
“I personally just sense he really didn’t want the job in the first place and won’t want to go to the floor and risk a second vote, which I think would be more likely than not,” he said.
Ryan’s aides have never confirmed or denied these rumors.
“He is running,” said spokeswoman AshLee Strong. “The Speaker’s only focus until Election Day is defeating Democrats and protecting our majority, and nothing else.”
Ryan stepping down could lead to more problems, however, since he’s believed to be the only House member capable of amassing enough votes to win. A Republican who wants this position would technically need 218 votes to obtain it.
Republicans have already begun speculating on who would try to dethrone Ryan, and the names include Rep. Trey Gowdy, R.SC., Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R.Tenn. and Rep. Cathy MCMorris Rodgers, R.Wash.
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