Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) will not run for reelection this November, he announced on Wednesday. Ryan’s departure confirms rumors that began swirling in mid-December 2017. He will retire in January, at the conclusion of his term.
Ryan, who is a Catholic, was first elected to Congress in 1998, and became the speaker of the house in October of 2015. He has become known for his conservative views and was Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election.
In his speech announcing his retirement, Ryan cited his three teenage children as one of the main reasons why he would be leaving Congress. His eldest daughter is 16 years old, he said, the same age he was when his father passed away.
“What I realize is, if I am here for one more term, my kids will only have known me as a weekend dad,” he said.
“I just can’t let that happen.”
Regardless, Ryan insisted that he has “no regrets” from his tenure in Congress, and that he put all of his being into his work. He insisted that the current political climate did not influence his decision to retire from Congress.
On Twitter, President Donald Trump offered praise for Ryan, even though the two have butted heads in the past. Trump said that Ryan was a “truly good man” who will “leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question.”
rnFormer Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also offered praise for Ryan, saying in a statement that, "Despite our differences, I commend his steadfast commitment to our country. During his final months, Democrats are hopeful that he joins us to work constructively to advance better futures for all Americans."
Ryan has talked about his Catholic faith numerous times during his two decades in Congress. He spoke at this year’s March for Life in Washington, D.C. and has spoken out in favor of religious freedom and pro-life legislation.
He has clashed with leaders of the U.S. bishops on other issues, notably the 2017 tax reform bill. Ryan championed the bill, while leaders of the U.S. bishops’ conference called parts of it “unconscionable,” saying it “appears to be the first federal income tax modification in American history that will raise income taxes on the working poor while simultaneously providing a large tax cut to the wealthy.”
Ryan did not announce what his plans are once he leaves Congress.