House Speaker Paul Ryan Announces He Will Retire in 2019 to 'Devote More of His Time' to Family
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday told his House Republican colleagues that he will not seek re-election in November
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday told his House Republican colleagues that he is retiring and will not seek re-election in November.
Ryan’s counselor Brendan Buck announced the news in a statement on Wednesday, saying: “This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House. He will serve out his full term, run through the tape, and then retire in January.”
“After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father,” the statement continued. “While he did not seek the position, he told his colleagues that serving as speaker has been the professional honor of his life, and he thanked them for the trust they placed in him. He will discuss his decision at a press conference immediately following the member meeting.”
Ryan later took to Twitter to say that serving as House speaker “has been one of my life’s great honors.”
President Donald Trump also tweeted about the news, writing that Ryan is “a truly good man” who will “leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question.”
Ryan, 48, a Wisconsin Republican, has been a member of Congress since 1999 and became House speaker in 2015 after running to replace then-Speaker John Boehner.
Rep. Darrell Issa of California told CNN that Ryan told House members he wants to be more than a “Sunday dad” to his children, sons Samuel and Charles and daughter Elizabeth.
Ryan told PEOPLE in June 2016 that he accepted the job of House speaker on one condition: weekends off at home with his wife, Janna, and their three kids.
Ryan said he told Republican party leaders at the time, “You can’t take away my family.”
“I was just being me,” Ryan explained. “I lost my dad when I was young so I’ve just always been extra-sensitive to the topic.”
He added that he loves spending three-day weekends in Janesville, Wisconsin, and attending the track meets and volleyball and basketball games of his “Irish triplets.”
According to CNN, sources familiar with the situation said Ryan also noted that he was planning to retire after this Congress and “didn’t think it was fair to his district or the GOP conference to run for re-election only to leave right after.”
Though Trump praised Ryan’s legacy, others on Twitter were more critical of the Republican speaker.
“Paul Ryan will go down as one of the worst Speakers of the House in American history,” wrote former Obama staffer Jon Lovett. “He should slink away.”
The DCCC, the House Democrats’ campaign arm, tweeted: “Paul Ryan will go down in history as the Speaker who forced the most toxic agenda on the American people, then left them to clean up his mess.”