I wonder if he voluntarily left because he knew he couldn't win with the current direction the Republican party was taking, or if he was pushed out.Senior House Republican Ryan to quit in latest Washington upheaval
Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell
(Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan will not seek re-election and will leave his post at the start of 2019, further unsettling a Republican Party rocked by Donald Trump's tumultuous presidency ahead of November's pivotal congressional elections.
Ryan, who has had an often-strained relationship with Trump but helped the president achieve his biggest legislative victory in the form of major tax cuts in December, made the announcement on Wednesday, portraying it as a decision to spend more time with his family after serving two decades in the House.
His action sets up a distracting House leadership succession struggle while Republicans are trying to fend off Democratic efforts to seize control of Congress in the mid-term elections.
"You realize something when you take this job," said Ryan, who reluctantly agreed to become speaker in 2015. "It's a big job with a lot riding on you, and you feel it. But you also know that this is a job that does not last forever."
Asked how much Trump and his conduct in office influenced his decision not to seek re-election for his seat representing a district in southeastern Wisconsin, Ryan told reporters, "Not at all."
Ryan's announcement marked the latest upheaval in Washington in the second year of Trump's presidency, following the firings and resignations of a series of senior White House officials and Cabinet members.
In 2016, Trump slammed Ryan as a "very weak and ineffective leader." But on Wednesday, Trump wrote on Twitter: "Speaker Paul Ryan is a truly good man, and while he will not be seeking re-election, he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question. We are with you Paul!"
Ryan was scheduled to dine with Trump on Wednesday evening with other Republican congressional leaders.
Besides holding the top House post, Ryan's resume includes a failed run as the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2012. His retirement has stoked speculation he could be eyeing a presidential campaign in 2020 or beyond, potentially putting him in competition with Trump or Vice President Mike Pence.
The House speaker is second in the line of presidential succession, after the vice president.