The announcement by House Speaker Paul Ryan that he is retiring and not seeking re-election caught his colleagues by surprise, says a GOP lawmaker.
Ryan indicated that he intends to serve out his full term and retire in January, but even though the Wisconsin lawmaker says he is ready to devote more time to being a husband and father, it is no secret that he has had a rocky relationship with President Donald Trump.
Axios has reported that Ryan's decision was motivated partly by Trump, who was not happy with the $1.3 trillion spending bill that the Republican leader helped put together.
But Rep. Jim Banks, an Indiana congressman, tells OneNewsNow that he has a lot of respect for Ryan and says the Speaker deserves praise from Republicans for helping raise record-breaking campaign funds.
Ryan has "done his part when it comes to ensuring the Republicans are left in a good place to be competitive in the fall elections," says Banks.
The congressman also says there were raised eyebrows in the room on Wednesday, when the GOP lawmakers gathered for the news.
"It was certainly a surprise to all of us," he recalls.
Political scientist Dr. Charles Dunn of Clemson University believes that there are several factors that led to Ryan's decision to step down.
"He accomplished his major goal, and that was, of course, tax reform and tax cuts,” Dunn asserted. “Second, he's the leader of a highly divided party. And increasingly, he's found it difficult to lead."
However, Dunn believes that Ryan is stepping aside – at least in part – because of a difficult relationship with Trump.
"I would say the difficulties he had with Donald Trump may have contributed to his stepping aside,” the political expert added. “[It] could be it was the ultimate nail in the coffin of his continuing to serve as a leader in the House."
Dunn also believes that Ryan does sincerely want to spend more time with his family in Wisconsin.
Banks, too, tells OneNewsNow that many lawmakers use that as excuse to step down but in this case it's a "genuine" reason.
More speculation on Ryan’s departure
Meanwhile, Chris Pandolfo of Conservative Review contends that Speaker Ryan is leaving a lot of unfinished business in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“His tenure certainly has more conservative accomplishments than the United States Senate,” Pandolfo argues. “I think not a lot is going to change with Ryan gone.”
What will happen once the legislator leaves was also discussed.
“Ryan is going to be replaced either by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise or House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy,” Pandolfo points out. “And also, there are questions about whether Republicans will be leading in the majority or if the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives – and Republicans will be in the minority – which means they'll get even less accomplished under whoever becomes the new leader."
He also uses Ryan's announcement to throw a jab at another Republican leader.
"I think the wrong Republican leader retired today,” Pandolfo offered. “I think Mitch McConnell's tenure in the United States Senate is really thwarting more conservative accomplishments than the House of Representatives ever did.”
The reasoning behind Pandolfo's frustration is over success in the House.
“If you pay attention, the House passed 12 different separate appropriations bills,” Pandolfo continues. “The House sent entitlement reform to the Senate, the House passed a partial repeal of Obamacare and the Senate majority was really unable to advance any of these pieces of legislation."
Finally, longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie says Ryan has had a poor relationship with both Trump and with conservatives in Congress. He tells OneNewsNow that Ryan, in the end, "betrayed" conservative lawmakers.
"They're still funding Planned Parenthood, spending money like drunken sailors," says Viguerie. "And it's just outrageous."
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Congress needs to elect a conservative Speaker of the House – that's the contention of the public policy arm of the American Family Association.
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