It has long been rumored that Speaker Paul Ryan, who has served in Congress for nearly two decades, was looking for an exit. Apparently, he has finally gotten the sign from Ayn Rand that it’s time to go, and is announcing that he won’t be running for re-election.
Axios was the first with the scoop on Wednesday, which was subsequently confirmed by a string of other outlets.
Ryan, a golden child of the Koch brothers, took over as speaker from John Boehner in 2015. This year, he has accomplished much of what he’s always set out to do—most significantly with the passage of massive tax cuts for the wealthy. He has also done his duty of raising a huge chunk of money for his party, bringing in $54 million for the 2018 midterm election cycle.
Ryan’s retirement is another sign of the trouble Republicans face in the midterms. It also means that he will need to find someone to replace him in his fight against Democratic challenger Randy Bryce—better known as “Ironstache”—who is vying for his seat. As for the newly open position of Speaker of the House, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise are both considered possible successors.
Like many Republicans, Ryan came into the 2016 election criticizing Donald Trump. But of course, he’s done basically everything he can since then to enable Trump’s agenda, which lines up neatly with Ryan’s desire to crush the poor. Now he’s leaving before he has to share the ballot with the unpopular president. Paul Ryan got his, now he’s getting the fuck out—presumably to make tons of money in the private sector.
Update, 9:28 AM: Ryan’s office has released a statement confirming his retirement: