Boehner: I laid 'Catholic guilt' on Ryan

Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection MORE really didn’t want to be Speaker of the House, so John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE said he had to lay the “Catholic guilt” on him.

Both men are lifelong Catholics, and BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE hosted Pope Francis at the Capitol in September, just a day before he announced he was resigning from Congress.

ADVERTISEMENT

“You have no choice. This is not about what you want to do, this is about what God wants you to do and God told me he wants you to do this,” Boehner said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” recalling the conversation he had with the reluctant Ryan.

Despite fervent protests, Ryan ultimately was convinced by Boehner and other party leaders to run for Speaker. He was elected by his House colleagues in a vote last Thursday.

“Listen, Paul was the right guy at the right time,” Boehner said. “I knew he didn’t want to do it, but it was obvious to me he was the right person for the job.”

Boehner said Ryan, the 2012 vice presidential nominee, probably had his eye on a future presidential bid. But he acknowledged it will be extremely difficult for Ryan to jump from the Speaker’s office to the White House.

“I think he would have liked to become president, but he figured out that God has another plan in mind for him to be Speaker of the House,” Boehner said.