Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan has decisively dismissed the Republican nomination for president, putting an end to speculations of being drafted as candidate in nominating convention due in July 2016.
“Let me be clear: I do not want nor will I accept the nomination of our party… Count me out,” said Ryan, while delivering a speech at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington on Tuesday.
He said the 2016 nominee should be someone who has actually run this year and said he would urge delegates to pass a rule limiting the nomination only to actual candidates.
“I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee for our party — to be the president — you should actually run for it. I chose not to do this. Therefore, I should not be considered. Period. End of story,” he added.
Ryan has repeatedly said that he believes the Republican nominee ought to be elected by Republican primary voters from among the candidates already in the race, but speculation about his intentions has escalated in recent weeks as large segments of the Republican Party are in despair over their two leading candidates, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
US Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump (L) and Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz
The latest national Reuters poll said Trump still leads Cruz among Republican voters but that his advantage has been narrowed. Trump had 41 percent support to 35 percent for Cruz of 598 Republicans surveyed from April 8-12.
“Paul Ryan was the white knight hope of the GOP; now the party is left with the black swan choice of Ted Cruz or Donald Trump,” said a Democratic pollster.
If no one has the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination outright, the candidates head to a contested convention where if the initial vote produces no winner then delegates would be unbound for subsequent ballots and allowed to vote for whoever they want.
Trump has complained that the Republican Party is seeking to block him from the nomination so as to back Cruz.
Despite publicly slamming Trump on a number of occasions, including for his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US, Ryan has pledged to support whoever becomes the nominee.