House Speaker (And Former Candidate For Vice-President) Says He Won’t Seek Reelection. Why? And Why Is It Important?
As virtually all Congresspeople who don’t run do, Ryan’s saying it’s family, he doesn’t just want to be a “weekend dad”, etc. If you want to watch that part of Ryan’s announcement, it’s here (click on photo to play):
A piece in Politico Magazine in December suggested Ryan was close to making this very same decision, and usually December/January is the time frame when Members of Congress announce if they’re retiring in order to candidates in their own party who might replace them time to gear up and fund-raise. But then Ryan didn’t make the move.
And we won’t belabor this, since so damn much has been written about it already (we were shocked–probably more on this than the raid on Trump’s lawyers office the day before), but it could be for any of a number of reasons, or a combination of all of the below:
- Ryan doesn’t think Republicans will hang onto a majority in the House. (Axios says it’ll at least appear this way, with a powerful Republican source telling them Ryan’s move is: “Titanic….This is going to make every Republican donor believe the House can’t be held“.)
- Ryan thinks he won’t be able to hang onto his House Speaker position (there’s already been jockeying going on in the background over that).
- Ryan thinks he’s gotten all he can out of his “deal with the devil” and that was tax cuts. (His ambitions to slash Social Security and Medicare, which may now be a distant inevitability because of the tax cuts, don’t seem to be coming anytime soon).
Some reports have even suggested Ryan was concerned about hanging onto his seat in Congress. That, we think is a bit far-fetched. He is incredibly well-funded and was running well ahead in the polls. His Democratic challenger does now have an brief advantage as Republican candidates scramble to file to run by the June 1st deadline. The Cook Political Report has a pretty even-handed round-up of this aspect of the story.
Ryan never wanted to be House Speaker in the first place. Which we actually sincerely believe is true and has as much to do with this as everything. Ryan clearly had aspirations to run for President. House Speaker is not typically a good stepping-stone for that, since by definition that job sucks you into a deep, angry hole that’s hard to climb out of. And he knew it when he took it. And then Trump came along…
A Brief Follow-Up From Our Edition Yesterday, Which Suggested Trump Might Think He Can Get Away With Firing Special Counsel Mueller’s Boss, Assistant Attorney General Rob Rosenstein
From Trump himself:
So Rosenstein’s the worst of all!
And the Washington Post late yesterday published a curious story suggesting ousted Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon is pitching the White House on an idea that starts with getting rid of Rosenstein (who presumably could be replaced with someone “friendlier” to Trump), then continues with the President exerting “executive privilege…immediately and retroactively”. Meaning all of Mueller’s interviews previously conducted with White House officials would be off limits. We don’t even know if that’s legally possible, especially since all those interviews were given voluntarily. But we’re not lawyers. Neither is Bannon.
And finally, Trump former near-hire, and former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova suggested the very same thing on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox last night, saying Trump should fire Rosenstein “tomorrow morning”. diGenova goes on Fox all the time, so why bring this particular appearance up? Because Trump himself did, Tweeting for people to watch it: “Big show tonight on
@seanhannity! 9:00 P.M. on @FoxNews“, he said.