Ryan says he'll seek to remain Speaker

Ryan says he'll seek to remain Speaker

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanUnscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden Coulter defends Paul Ryan: This is 100 percent Trump's fault The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration MORE (R-Wis.) on Friday pushed back on a story in The Hill in which a handful of House Republicans speculated that he might step down from his leadership post after Tuesday’s election.

Speaking to a local Wisconsin radio talk show host, Ryan downplayed the report and insisted he was running for a full two-year term as Speaker next year.

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“This is the typical chatter you have every two years. They call it ‘palace intrigue’ in the Hill rags. I am going to seek staying on as Speaker,” Ryan said during an interview on WTAQ’s “The Jerry Bader Show” in Green Bay, Wis.

“There’s a lot of unfinished work to do, and I think I can do a lot to help our cause and our country,” Ryan continued. “I’ve led us to offer a very comprehensive agenda to take to the country and I want to execute and implement that agenda.” 

Ryan's top deputies, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), said they are backing Ryan's reelection as Speaker.

"Paul is far and away the best person to lead the House. He has worked tirelessly with every element of our conference to build a substantive policy agenda," McCarthy said in a statement Friday afternoon. "Right now he's crisscrossing the country campaigning non-stop for our majority. 

"Paul has made the difference and that's why he has the overwhelming support and confidence of his colleagues."

Scalise called Ryan’s leadership “invaluable.”

“Once this election is over, we have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and Paul demonstrates every day that he is the right person to lead the House during these challenging times."

Ryan’s remarks came in response to a question from Bader, who read portions of The Hill’s story to the Speaker. Four House Republicans, including a senior lawmaker close to leadership, told the publication they don’t expect Ryan to stick around after Tuesday’s election, saying he likely can’t secure the 218 votes he needs to win another two years leading House Republicans. 

“Speculation is growing that Paul will not return,” said a senior GOP lawmaker close to leadership.

House conservatives, including members of the far-right Freedom Caucus, have been making noise about a change at the top. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), a frequent Ryan critic who is not in the Freedom group, told The Huffington Post he probably wouldn’t back the Wisconsin Republican for Speaker in the public floor vote on Jan. 3.

“It would be very difficult for him to get my vote based on what I assume his motives are, which are to run for president in 2020,” Massie said.

But more mainstream Republicans from safe GOP districts, those who represent the bulk of the 246-member conference, are also feeling pressure to dump Ryan, lawmakers told The Hill. Voters in many of those districts are supportive of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE, and they’re furious at Ryan for distancing himself from the GOP nominee throughout the campaign.

However, Ryan did cast an early ballot for Trump this week, and he’ll be appearing with Trump’s vice presidential running mate, Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceKamala Harris shopping trip stirs Twitter campaign trail debate Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech Bill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' MORE, in his home state of Wisconsin on Saturday. 

Asked about the FBI’s new review of emails linked to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bernie Sanders records announcement video ahead of possible 2020 bid Overnight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants MORE, Ryan argued that it shows the need to prevent Democrats from taking power in Washington.

“Let that be a case for voting against Hillary Clinton. Let that be a case for voting for Trump, Pence, [Sen. Ron] Johnson, Congress, everybody," Ryan said.

“She will bring all this baggage in, think of the cloud that will surround her with this ongoing investigation and how the Clintons play the system. I don’t think we want to see that in the White House again.”

- This story was updated at 4:13 p.m.