Just over a week ago, Paul Ryan said “I have no interest in running for president and will not seek it at a brokered convention.” The Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) just a week ago. He didn’t actually say “never,” as Lyndon Johnson did on March 31, 1968, announcing he would not seek re-election no matter what.
There are rumours and scuttlebut going around, suggesting Paul Ryan should be / will be the Republican nominee against Hillary Clinton. An unnamed source, who has apparently been on target with previous predictions, said Ryan has a 54 percent chance of being the party’s nominee. That was published in Politico Wednesday.
That source predicted a 60 percent chance of convention deadlock in Cleveland and then a stunning 90 percent chance that delegates will dump the existing candidates, and instead switch to Paul Ryan, the popular and highly-respected moderate conservative.
Paul Ryan May Have Powerful Backing
Ryan has played in this arena before. He was Mitt Romney’s Nominee for Vice-President in 2012, but they lost to Barack Obama. The establishment seems to have calmed down a little this week. Could it be that they think they have this one in the bag? Speaking to Politico about Ryan’s credentials, the unnamed source said “He’s the most conservative, least establishment member of the establishment. That’s what you need to be.”
Ryan may be the least-establishment possible candidate, but apparently he has the full financial backing of billionaire Charles Koch. Koch has apparently been telling close associates that if Donald Trump comes up at least 100 delegate votes short of the 1,237 minimum to secure the nomination, Ryan would be a solid second choice. Ryan already had the backing of the Koch brotherstold Politico on Wednesday that when he was slated to replace John Boehner as speaker of the House, back in October.
Koch Insider Says Not True
But not everyone is admitting the Koch brothers are behind Ryan.
Mark Holden, Koch Industries general counsel, told the Washington Post that reports of support for Ryan were “completely false.”
Is that a case of protesting too much? Is Holden just trying to keep their cards close to their chest at this stage? The Koch brothers’ strategy may be to remain – or at least appear – neutral, especially at this stage.
As Speaker of the House Paul Ryan must remain neutral, so it is no surprise he would say he isn’t running. But there may be tell-tale signs he is interested. In a speech in March, Ryan said something that gave the impression there might be a possibility the speaker is less reluctant than he says he is.
In that speech, the Wisconsin Republican spoke of raising the “tone and tenor of politics.” That may have been a veiled repudiation of the Trump campaign, but may also have referred to the mean campaign against Trump too.
Another thing the unnamed source said about Ryan related to that speech. He apparently told Politico, “That was somebody who was laying out the speech that, in most cases, you’d give six months before you announce you’re going to run when you’re going around the country, raising money for your leadership PAC.”
Political observers speculate that although Ryan may be quiet, Trump may take his chance to get in a few early digs at Paul Ryan. At Fox News, Juan Williams said, “Trump and Ryan are on a collision course.”
If they are right, it we may see that in action toon, but Trump may not want to invite more trouble onto his back right now.