A House chaplain has suddenly resigned, drama on Capitol Hill is running high, and honestly, I am here for it.
As Politico reported on Thursday, Democrats claim Speaker Paul Ryan fired Father Pat Conroy, who announced his resignation in a letter to Ryan in mid-April. Ryan’s spokeswoman said that telling of events is “not only false but outrageous,” and Conroy himself has remained mostly mum, but said in an email to the site that he was not pushed out.
But Politico also obtained an email that Conroy sent a friend stating that “I had no intentions of leaving” and “I doubt that anything will change Ryan’s mind, but I think it important that Members know the truth.”
Sounds a lot like he was fired by Ryan! Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly agreed, telling Politico: “He was fired. I talked to the chaplain directly.”
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“Paul Ryan sent his chief of staff down to the chaplain’s office and said, ‘The speaker wants your resignation or obviously, you’ll be dismissed,’” he also said. Conroy also disputed Connolly’s recollection of the conversation.
Ryan’s spokeswoman also shifted blame to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, saying, “The speaker told Leader Pelosi that he would not move forward with the decision if she objected and she chose not to.” (I’d like to point out that this .... still makes it sound like Ryan fired him.) A Pelosi aide told Politico that the minority leader disagreed with Ryan’s decision but did not have the power to stop him.
The infighting around the big Chaplain Conspiracy might seem melodramatic, but the actual reason some point to as to why Ryan was unhappy with Conroy is as petty as it gets. As a HuffPost reporter tweeted, during a prayer on Ryan’s signature tax bill, Conroy said he wished for no “winners and losers” under the legislation, “but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans,” which Ryan apparently didn’t like.
The House chaplain has literally no political power. That Ryan may have pushed him out because he prayed for the tax bill to be fair, something Ryan has consistently claimed is the case (even though it isn’t) is catty as hell.