Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, the chaplain of the House of Representatives, announced on Thursday that, despite House Speaker Paul Ryan’s petty effort to oust him from his post, he plans to stay put for the time being, thank you very much.
“I have never been disciplined, nor reprimanded, nor have I ever heard a complaint about my ministry during my time as House chaplain,” Conroy wrote in a two-page letter sent to Ryan and first obtained by the Washington Post.
In his letter, Conroy explained that he no longer thought Ryan had the authority to force him out of his position. As a result, he said, he was taking his resignation back, and planned to stay on in the role through the end of the legislative year at least.
“You may wish to outright ‘fire’ me, if you have the authority to do so, but should you wish to terminate my services, it will be without my offer of resignation, as you requested,” he wrote.
Ryan initially claimed he’d asked Conroy to step down because “a number of our members felt like the pastoral services were not being adequately served or offered.” However, it is widely believed that he had demanded Conroy’s ouster as a result of a prayer regarding the GOP’s tax bill in which he’d called for legislation with no “winners or losers” and prayed for “benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”
Conroy’s 180 comes after a bipartisan effort in the House to convince Ryan to allow him to remain. In a letter obtained by CNN, a group of both Republicans and Democrats said:
We are seeking additional information regarding your decision to request the resignation of Reverend Patrick J. Conroy, the 60th Chaplain of the House of Representatives. The sensitive nature of this situation requires a description of the process followed to arrive at the decision and a justification for that decision.
I have reached out to Speaker Ryan’s office for comment on Rev. Conroy’s about-face and will update this story with their reply.