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 RyanPaul Ryan says he disagrees with Romney's impeachment vote Trump doubles down on Neil Cavuto attacks: 'Will he get the same treatment as' Shep Smith? Trump lashes out at Fox News coverage: 'I won every one of my debates' MORE (R-Wis.) decides to step down, Politico reported Monday.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTrump's intel moves spark Democratic fury Overnight Energy: EPA moves to limit financial pressure on 'forever chemical' manufacturers | California sues Trump over water order| Buttigieg expands on climate plan Barr to attend Senate GOP lunch on Tuesday MORE (Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseScalise after Democrat asks for examples of Sanders supporters 'being bad': 'I can think of an example' Bottom line Pelosi's staff huddles with aides in both parties on 'surprise' medical billing 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 TrumpAdvisor: Sanders could beat Trump in Texas Bloomberg rips Sanders over Castro comments What coronavirus teaches us for preventing the next big bio threat 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 BoehnerCoronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 Lobbying world Pelosi-Trump relationship takes turn for the terrible 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 BrooksRepublican group asks 'what is Trump hiding' in Times Square billboard Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' Trump takes pulse of GOP on Alabama Senate race 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.