Speed Reads

White Knight Ryan

Former House Speaker John Boehner endorses Paul Ryan for president

Paul Ryan saved the Republican Party from itself once. But can he do it again? John Boehner seems to think so.

Paul Ryan reluctantly agreed to become speaker of the House last fall, seeking to placate conservatives who had become fed up with the Republican House leadership under John Boehner. Now former Speaker John Boehner — the embodiment of House conservatives' frustration — is pushing his successor to run for another job: president of the United States.

Boehner threw his support behind Ryan at a news conference in Boca Raton, Florida. Though Politico reports that Boehner has casually floated Ryan as an option if the party can't coalesce around a single candidate, this is the first time he has said so publicly.

"If we don't have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I'm for none of the above," Boehner said. "They all had a chance to win. None of them won... I'm for Paul Ryan to be our nominee."

Though members of Ryan's staff have pushed back on the notion that their boss has any interest in seeking the nomination, the House speaker has repeatedly rebuked likely GOP nominee Donald Trump, criticizing him for his proposal to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States, for failing to forcefully disavow the informal endorsement of former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, and for inciting violence at his rallies.

With resounding victories in Florida, Illinois, and North Carolina, the prospect of a Trump nomination and party revolt at the Republican Convention this summer is growing more and more likely. Boehner's suggestion of Ryan might be a shot in the dark, but perhaps many in the GOP are feeling pretty desperate right now.