Top GOP lawmakers jockeying to replace Ryan if he steps down: report

Top GOP lawmakers jockeying to replace Ryan if he steps down: report
© Greg Nash

Two top members of Republican leadership have been lobbying for the position of Speaker if Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash: Trump incorrect in claiming Congress didn't subpoena Obama officials Democrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate MORE (R-Wis.) decides to step down, Politico reported Monday.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRepublicans seek to delay effort to censure Schiff after Cummings' death House leaders offer tributes from floor to Elijah Cummings The comments and actions of Schiff demand his formal censure MORE (Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseRepublicans seek to delay effort to censure Schiff after Cummings' death Schiff says committees will eventually make impeachment inquiry transcripts public Kinzinger challenges Trump's defense chief on Syria in closed-door meeting MORE (La.) have been courting other Republicans for support, according to interviews with 20 Republican lawmakers and staff the news outlet conducted.

Both men downplayed the report and Scalise told Politico he would not challenge McCarthy for Speaker. 

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocratic senator rips Trump's 'let them fight' remarks: 'Enough is enough' Warren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Trump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' MORE is reportedly fond of McCarthy and his endorsement could help solidify support among conservatives. The two met for dinner last Wednesday.

Some Republicans told Politico that the relationship would help ensure McCathy’s path to victory, unlike his unsuccessful bid for Speaker in 2015.

“It’s McCarthy’s to lose,” a GOP lawmaker close with McCarthy told the news outlet. “I think he’s in a lot stronger place than last time because he’s got a close relationship with Trump.”

McCarthy, however, would face opposition from members of the House Freedom Caucus who view Ryan and his predecessor, former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerIs Congress retrievable? Boehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader MORE (R-Ohio), as weak on the conservative position, Politico noted.

“He’s not Speaker now because he’s got a fairly liberal Republican track record,” Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksGOP lawmaker blasts Omar and Tlaib: Netanyahu right to block 'enemies' of Israel Conservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker MORE (R-Ala.), a Freedom Caucus member, told a local Alabama radio station last month, it added.

Brooks said Scalise is better suited for the role. The majority whip is also viewed as a “heroic figure” after he was shot last summer during a baseball practice, the Alabama lawmaker noted.

Ryan’s team has denied he is resigning anytime soon and McCarthy said his only focus right now is maintaining the Republican majority in the House and pushing Trump’s agenda.

“Paul Ryan is our Speaker and I hope he is our speaker for a very long time,” McCarthy said in a statement.