Election 2020

Ryan: 'More Likely to Become Open Convention Than We Thought Before'

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) chided Donald Trump today for suggesting there could be riots if he isn’t the nominee at the Cleveland convention.

If no candidate hit the required number of electoral votes to secure the nomination outright but came close, yet the convention was contested, Trump told CNN on Wednesday, “I think you’d have riots. I think you’d have riots. I’m representing a tremendous many, many millions of people.”

Ryan told reporters at his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill today that “nobody should say such things, in my opinion, because to even address or hint to violence is unacceptable.”

He also acknowledged “this is more likely to become an open convention than we thought before.”

“So, we’re getting our minds around the idea that this could very well become a reality, and therefore those of us who are involved in the convention need to respect that,” he added.

That doesn’t mean Paul Ryan for president — as former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has suggested.

“I saw Boehner last night, and I told him to knock it off,” Ryan said. “You know, I used slightly different words. I used his own words that he used to use against us when he told us to knock things off.”

“It’s not going to be me. It should be somebody running for president. Look, I made a decision over a year not to run for president. I really believe if you want to be president, you should run for president. People are out there campaigning. They’re canvassing. There are caucuses and primaries. That’s who we should select from among for our next president, on whatever ballot we’re talking about,” he added. “So let’s just put this thing to rest and move on.”

As speaker, Ryan will be chairman of the convention.

“So I will have to obviously bone up on all the rules and all of those things,” he said. “My goal is to be dispassionate and to be Switzerland — to be neutral and dispassionate, and to make sure that the rule of law prevails, and to make sure that the delegates make their decision however the rules require them to do that. I will acquaint myself with these things at the right time. Right now, I’m pretty busy trying to get Congress moving in the right direction.”

Ryan later stressed that “the Republican primary voter is going to make this decision on who our nominee is going to be.”

“If the person doesn’t get sufficient delegates, then it goes to the convention and the delegates make that decision…. So it isn’t my place to say who our nominee is or what. If anybody, not just Donald Trump, if anybody is out there representing the Republican Party in ways that we believe disfigure conservatism or do not portray what our views and principles are, I as a party leader and others I assume as well have an obligation to defend our principles from being distorted. And we’re going to continue doing that.”