WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday that he will resign his role as the leader of the majority party effective January 2019.
“This year will be my last one as a member of the House,” Ryan told a sea of waiting reporters after notifying his GOP colleagues in a closed-door meeting moments before. “I will be retiring in January, leaving this majority in good hands with what I believe is a very bright future.”
“This is a job that does not last forever,” said Ryan, who became speaker in 2015 after former House Speaker, Ohio Republican John Boehner, abruptly resigned. “It’s fleeting, and that inspires you to do big things. And on that score, I think we’ve achieved a heck of a lot.”
Becoming visibly emotional during points of his announcement, Ryan said family considerations weighed heavily on his decision to step down, explaining that his daughter was 13 when he became speaker and he did not want to be a “weekend Dad” for the remainder of her teen years.
“This has been one of the two greatest honors of my life,” Ryan said. “The job provides incredible opportunities. But the truth is, it’s easy for it to take over everything in your life. And you can’t just let that happen. Because there are other things in life that can be fleeting as well — namely, your time as a husband and a dad, which is the other great honor of my life.”
Ryan said the upcoming midterm elections, which some say will be a battle for Republicans to win, did not factor into his retirement decision “at all.” Nor, said Ryan, did any rumored conflicts he may have with President Donald Trump.
“I’m grateful to the president for giving us this opportunity to do big things to get this country on the right track,” said Ryan.
Taking to Twitter following Ryan’s announcement, the president thanked Ryan for a job well done and wished the Wisconsin native well.
“Speaker Paul Ryan is a truly good man, and while he will not be seeking re-election, he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question. We are with you Paul!” Trump tweeted.
Mitt Ryan, who essentially put Ryan on the map by choosing him as his vice-president nominee during the 2012 presidential election, praised his former running mate and thanked him for stepping in to fill the Speaker role when duty called.
“He unified the House, passed scores of bills, and led with integrity, honor and dignity,” Romney wrote. “The country will miss Speaker Ryan.”
Rep. Charlie Dent, (R)-Penn., when asked by a reporter who may be tapped to replace Ryan, said it was too early to tell.
“The bigger issue right now is just trying to maintain the majority,” said Dent, who is retiring this year, adding that Republicans face a “toxic” environment during the 2018 mid-terms.
“This is going to be a challenging year,” said Dent.