Paul Ryan spokeswoman: Ryan will not accept a GOP nomination for president
John Harwood | @johnjharwood
House Speaker Paul Ryan would not accept a Republican nomination for president at a divided convention this summer, his spokeswoman said Wednesday.
"The speaker is grateful for the support, but he is not interested. He will not accept a nomination and believes our nominee should be someone who ran this year," spokeswoman AshLee Strong told NBC News.
In a CNBC interview on Tuesday, Ryan declined to rule out accepting the nomination if a deadlocked party convention turned to him this summer.
"You know, I haven't given any thought to this stuff," Ryan said in the exclusive interview at the Capitol. "People say, 'What about the contested convention?' I say, well, there are a lot of people running for president. We'll see. Who knows?"
Sophie Bearman | CNBC
CNBC’s John Harwood sat down with House Speaker Paul Ryan in a "Speakeasy" interview at the Capitol Building in Washington DC on March 15, 2016.
Ryan, who ran in 2012 as Mitt Romney's vice presidential nominee, has taken no public actions to encourage the idea that he could become a candidate. To the contrary, a political committee set up to draft him into the 2016 race recently shut down at the urging of the speaker's aides.
"I actually think you should run for president if you're going to be president, if you want to be president," Ryan said in the interview. "I'm not running for president. I made that decision, consciously, not to."
Yet Donald Trump, even as he has established himself as the clear front-runner in the Republican race, still faces a challenge in rounding up the 1,237 delegates he needs to be nominated on the first ballot at the Republican convention in Cleveland. Trump's challenge was steepened by Gov. John Kasich's victory in Tuesday's winner-take-all Ohio primary — which keeps Kasich in a three-way nomination fight with Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Ryan will chair the Republican convention, and would become a leading prospect if delegates decided to turn to someone outside the current field.
"I don't see that happening," he said in the interview. "I'm not thinking about it. I'm happy where I am, so no."
But at a moment of increasing urgency for the efforts by Romney and other prominent Republicans to block Trump, Ryan declined to categorically rule it out.
Ryan's predecessor as House speaker, John Boehner, endorsed him on Wednesday for the GOP presidential nomination, Politico reported.
"If we don't have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I'm for none of the above," Boehner said at a Florida conference, according to Politico.
But a Boehner spokesman told NBC his remarks were "off-the-cuff" and related to "a hypothetical scenario in which none of the current candidates are able to secure the nomination at the convention."