Paul Ryan didn't want to be speaker of House. "Not only on who is the speaker but who's going to be minority leader".
Nevertheless, he worked with the president on a massive tax cut that passed a year ago, succeeding also in turning back the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate to buy health insurance or pay a fee.
"As you all know, I did not seek this job [House speaker], but I have given it all I have and I have no regrets", Ryan said in a 10 a.m. briefing to reporters.
Axios news site first reported the news on Wednesday. But no one should blame Ryan for having a less-than-reliable majority in the House, or the president not being much an asset in the advancement of legislative priorities. Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina said an emotional Ryan "choked up a few times trying to get through" his remarks to colleagues and received three standing ovations.
Now that the speaker is unchained from a mercurial president who tries the patience of even his friends, will Ryan spend his remaining time in office speaking his mind, as other retiring members are doing?
Ryan's retirement also raises the question of who will run for his seat in Congress. His tone was sombre, and he read directly from prepared remarks. "And I think the Speaker's decision is indicative of that".
Ryan on Sunday again stressed his focus on his family. A final decision was made over the two-week congressional recess, which was partly spent on a family vacation in the Czech Republic.
Brian Fitzgerald lives in Janesville and said Ryan's justification of spending more time with family is admirable.
However, a lot of "former" congressmen have moved on to the presidency, and come January 2019, that's exactly what Paul Ryan will be.
"Losing Speaker Ryan's leadership and passion for these issues will nearly certainly make the road to these reforms longer and more hard", Dean Rosen, who works at the lobbying firm Mehlman, Castagnetti, Rosen & Thomas, told Bloomberg Law. He has had more trust with the hardliners in the House.
"This is going to demoralize the Republican base across the country", Neal said. "His ability to bridge the vast divide".
Despite Ryan's sometimes uneasy relationship with Trump, the speaker and White House worked together to push the conservative agenda.
Conservatives appear to want the speakership vote to be held after the elections, to give new members, not outgoing ones, a vote.
"Leadership has never been on my bucket list, and it's not on my bucket list today", he said. Now, some wonder if the GOP grip on the majority is already lost. He has hauled in $54 million so far this election cycle. While Republicans praised his leadership, many Democrats found fault with the impact of the tax bill he championed. "Donors who are committed to making sure Republicans hold onto the majority will do whatever they have to do to make that happen", he said.
In Wisconsin, Republicans had no obvious successor in waiting. "And now they're teenagers in or about to be in high school", Ryan said. He had almost $2.3 million in the bank at the end of the first quarter. He is the 25th Republican lawmaker to announce his retirement this year.
"It's not a total shocker that Paul Ryan is choosing not to run for reelection, or that he saw his days in Washington as being limited", says Casey.