WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 17:  Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks to the media during his weekly briefing, at the U.S. Capitol, March 17, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Paul Ryan: Open convention 'more likely'
00:45 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

House Speaker Paul Ryan again said he won't emerge as the Republican presidential nominee

Ryan made the comments during a trip to Israel

Washington CNN  — 

Paul Ryan, in his first trip abroad as House speaker, insisted that he would not eventually emerge as the Republican presidential nominee.

The Wisconsin lawmaker on Sunday spoke with the Times of Israel while in Jerusalem, as part of a congressional delegation trip. Ryan has been mentioned increasingly as a consensus nominee should the White House hopefuls, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, fall short of the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch their party’s nomination.

“I decided not to run for president,” Ryan said. “I think you should run, if you’re going to be president. I think you should start in Iowa and run to the tape.”

The Times of Israel reported that Ryan said there were “lots of reasons” he stayed out of the 2016 presidential race, including his “young family” and the heavy candidate field.

“We had 17 people running. We had a deep bench of qualified people. So I thought we had that fairly well taken care of,” Ryan said.

Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, also discussed the upcoming primary in his home state of Wisconsin – an increasingly crucial contest to win the nomination.

Ryan suggested a win by real-estate mogul Donald Trump would set him up for the nomination. But if Texas Sen. Cruz comes out on top it would increase the odds of a contested convention, the Times of Israel reported.

Ryan is in Israel with a bipartisan delegation of House officials. It’s his first trip abroad since assuming the House speakership in October.

“I’m proud that my first trip as speaker is a return to Israel. At this critical moment, it is essential that we reaffirm the historic alliance between our two nations and work together to address the mutual security threats that we face,” Ryan said in a statement after he arrived.

Ryan reiterated his opposition to being nominated in an interview on the “Hugh Hewitt Radio Show” on Monday morning.

“I do believe people put my name in this thing,” he said, “and I say ‘get my name out of that.’ This is – if you want to be president, you should go run for president. And that’s just the way I see it.”

After Hewitt referenced the Times of Israel interview and continued to press the Speaker of the House on the nomination, Ryan was unequivocal.

“I’m not for this conversation. I think you need to run for president if you’re going to be president, and I’m not running for president. So period, end of story.”