Paul Ryan (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Paul Ryan's resignation rumors are too good to be true

One GOP congressman says the big Washington rumor is that Paul Ryan will resign, and his successor has been chosen


Charlie May
March 27, 2018 2:29PM (UTC)

With the 2018 midterm elections on the horizon, the rumor mill is churning, and there is once again speculation that House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will soon leave office and that his replacement has already been selected.

The rumor gained traction with Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nevada, but was quickly shutdown by team Ryan.

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"The speaker is not resigning," AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for the House speaker said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.

Amodei has insisted to the contrary and said on Monday, "The rumor mill is that Paul Ryan is getting ready to resign in the next 30 to 60 days and that Steve Scalise will be the new speaker," according to the Post.

As are many things in life, Amodei's rumor could likely prove itself too good to be true. The seldom-known Nevada Republican was described in the Post as "not particularly close to the speaker," which is notable considering Ryan is someone "who has a small inner circle of advisers and who makes decisions about his political future with an even smaller round of confidants and family."

Last December, rumors swirled for the first time that Ryan would depart from politics and retire early. The rumor came as the GOP had just wrapped up its massive tax overhaul, one of the only substantial pieces of legislation passed under a Republican-controlled government since Donald Trump was elected president.

"I'm not. No," Ryan said to rumors of his resignation at the time. His spokeswoman also reiterated, "As the speaker himself said today, he's not going anywhere any time soon."

The tax bill was a signature achievement for Ryan, and some thought he would take the opportunity to ride off into the sunset as a so-called victor, the Post noted.

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But the midterms are coming, and Congress is essentially done legislating for the year after it passed the massive $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that Trump reluctantly inked last Friday to keep the government open.

Back in his home state of Wisconsin, Ryan is due to run for reelection, and his opponent would likely be Democratic candidate Randy Bryce, who is channeling a working-class agenda that seems to resonate with some voters. Still, Ryan has represented his district since as far back as 1999, and it's not likely that he would lose the race, even if it were to be more difficult than usual.

There have been rumblings and signals that Ryan could be in for a tough fight, however.

Ryan's departure would be a major shake-up for the GOP, and an abrupt resignation this spring could certainly prove to light a fire under the Democrats and bring the so-called blue wave to the state of Wisconsin.

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In the end, though, even if the former vice presidential hopeful resigns, the GOP orthodoxy remains intact so long as Trump is at the helm and the party controls the government. While it may be aesthetically pleasing for liberals that Ryan might be out of Washington for good, the Republican Party is definitely not short of politicians eager to radically change the nation's health care, gut and privatize social security and undermine social benefit programs.

In other words, the GOP orthodoxy will still prevail.

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Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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