House Speaker Paul Ryan will not accept the presidential nomination of the Republican Party if GOP leaders seek him as a savior candidate amid a contested convention this summer, an aide said Wednesday.
“The speaker is grateful for the support, but he is not interested. He will not accept a nomination and believes our nominee should be someone who ran this year,” spokeswoman AshLee Strong said.
The statement comes after an avalanche of speculation about Ryan as a possible compromise candidate for GOP establishment leaders concerned about Donald Trump’s march to the party nod.
Those Republicans hope that Ryan, who reversed course last year by refusing and then accepting the House Speakership, might again be open to reluctantly accepting a high-profile leadership role for the good of the party.
Ryan, who had on numerous occasions flatly said he was not interested in the job, offered some less definitive words in an interview with CNBC Tuesday night.
“You know, I haven't given any thought to this stuff," Ryan said. "People say, 'What about the contested convention?' I say, well, there are a lot of people running for president. We'll see. Who knows."
In the same interview, Ryan also said “I’m happy where I am, so no.”
But his seeming pass on the chance to categorically rule out accepting the nomination prompted some observers to wonder if Ryan remains open to the possibility.
The speculation was compounded by Ryan’s predecessor, former House Speaker John Boehner, suggesting Tuesday night that he would support Ryan if no other presidential candidate amassed enough delegates to secure the nomination.
“If we don't have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I'm for none of the above," Boehner said at a Florida conference, according to POLITICO. "They all had a chance to win. None of them won. So I'm for none of the above. I'm for Paul Ryan to be our nominee."
Boehner, who had publicly supported his home state governor, John Kasich, clarified those remarks Monday morning.
“His off-the-cuff comments this morning were about a hypothetical scenario in which none of the current candidates are able to secure the nomination at the convention.,” a spokesman for the former speaker told NBC News.