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Ryan on Presidential Nomination: 'It Is Not Me'

Speaker wants speculation put to rest

 Ryan says the GOP nominee should be someone running for president now. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has said over and over again he will not be the Republican presidential nominee in the event of a brokered convention, and on Thursday he requested that speculation be put to rest.  

"It is not me," the Wisconsin Republican said, adding, "Let’s just put this thing to rest and move on."  

Ryan said he believes the GOP nominee should be someone running for president. That would leave the options for the nomination as businessman Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz or Ohio Gov. John Kasich.  

"I made a decision over a year ago not to run for president," Ryan said. "I really believe if you want to be president, you should run for president. People are out there campaigning, they're canvasing, there's caucuses and primaries. That's who we should select from among for our next president, on whatever ballot we're talking about."  

But for the first time Ryan acknowledged the probability of a brokered convention, saying, "We're getting our minds around the idea that this could very well become a reality." His role as speaker makes him chair of the convention.  

"I will have to, obviously, bone up on all the rules and all of those things," he said. "My goal is to be dispassionate and to be Switzerland, to be neutral and dispassionate and to make sure that the rule of law prevails and to make sure that the delegates make their decision however the rules require them to do that. I will acquaint myself with these things as the right time."  

On Wednesday, former Speaker John A. Boehner, who has endorsed Kasich, told reporters that in the event none of the GOP candidates win the nomination on first ballot, then the delegates should select Ryan as the nominee.  

Ryan did not appreciate the cajoling.  

"I saw Boehner last night and I told him to knock it off," Ryan said. "I used slightly different words. I used his own words that he used to use against us when he told us to knock things off."  

Ryan was also asked about Trump's comments that there would be riots if someone with a clear lead in delegates was denied the nomination.  

"Nobody should say such things, in my opinion because to even address or hint at violence is unacceptable," the speaker said.  

Although Ryan has now several times condemned comments Trump has made, the speaker said he doesn't believe he will ever have to denounce Trump's candidacy.  

"It isn't my place to say who our nominee is or what," Ryan said. "If anybody -- not just Donald Trump -- if anybody is out there representing the Republican Party in ways we believe disfigure conservatism or do not portray what our views and principles are, I as a party leader ... have an obligation to defend our principles from being distorted."  

Contact McPherson at lindseymcpherson@cqrollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @lindsemcpherson.

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