Paul Ryan: Kevin McCarthy Is 'Right Person' to Be Next Speaker

"We all think that Kevin is the right person", Ryan said, speaking on behalf of the GOP's House leadership.

McCarthy ran for speaker in 2015 but dropped out at the last minute when it became clear he didn't have the votes.

White House Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the President and McCarthy "have a great relationship", but did not say who he wants to fill the role.

On Wednesday, Ryan announced that he would not seek re-election to the House.

"I think what we want to do is focus on getting our jobs done, what we want to do is focus on executing our agenda, focus on fighting for our majority, and all these other things would be needless distractions from the task at hand", Ryan said.

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Since reluctantly taking the Speaker's gavel in October 2015 Ryan has struggled to unite different factions of the Republican party.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise has publicly indicated he won't directly challenge McCarthy if the California Republican declares his candidacy for speaker, but so far McCarthy is only saying there isn't a race for Speaker yet. McCarthy still has to win the support of the conference and endure a months-long race for the speaker's gavel.

With Republicans gearing up for a tough midterm election this fall in which their majority is at stake, Ryan suggested he wanted to head off a potentially destructive internecine battle.

During an interview Friday, Ryan endorsed Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy as his successor.

  • Tabitha Byrd