Sean Spicer Disputes Reports That Weary Paul Ryan Will Bail in 2018

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer Thursday dismissed the political story of the day in Washington — that a weary Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is ready to leave Congress at the end of next year.

Politico cited multiple anonymous sources in its explosive report, which — if true — would set off a power struggle in an election year inside a House Republican caucus that has repeatedly proven difficult to unite in recent years.

But Spicer said on "The Ingraham Angle" that he believes Ryan will stay.

"One of the traps that we as conservatives have to stop getting into is that every time Politico or The New York Times throws out some click-bait that we immediately run around and assume it's true and start planning around it," he said.

Allies and aides of the speaker pushed back after the Politico report. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tweeted, "Just checked in with my friend @PRyan. He's not going anywhere."

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong tweeted, "This is pure speculation. As the speaker himself said today, he's not going anywhere anytime soon."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also told reporters that Ryan had assured President Donald Trump that he is staying.

"This story was a Politico story," Spicer told Ingraham. "The president called Paul Ryan and said, 'Hey, I need you to stay and be a partner of mine and help drive the agenda forward.' And Paul comes out and says, 'I want to stay. I've committed to getting this agenda done.' Paul Ryan at heart's a policy guy who finally sees a Republican Senate and a Republican president and knows that he can achieve some of those policy goals that he's worked to see."

Spicer acknowledged that the job as speaker can be a grind and is tough on the politician's family.

"But I think he sees an opportunity to get all of these lifelong policy goals achieved," he said.

Ingraham asked if Ryan would stick around if the midterm elections wiped out the GOP majority. Spicer answered that would not happen.

In a related development Thursday regarding the Trump agenda, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) threw into question what would be Trump's most significant legislative accomplishment to date — a tax reform package nearing the finish line. Rubio said he would vote against the final bill if it does not include an expansion of the child tax credit that he has sought.

Spicer echoed Trump's confidence that Rubio ultimately would come on board.

"At the end of the day, Marco Rubio's going to be a 'yes' vote for us," he said. "He is not going to let this moment escape us. And he understands how important tax reform is."

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Spicer added that the president and Rubio would not even be having discussions about the details of tax cuts if Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) became majority leader.

"This is why making sure that the president maintains a majority in the House and Senate is crucial to keeping the president's agenda moving forward," he said.

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at brendan.kirby@lifezette.com. Follow him on Twitter.

(photo credit, homepage image: Paul Ryan, desaturated, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)

Last Modified: January 5, 2018, 8:06 am

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