President Donald Trump praised House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday as a “truly good man” following news the Wisconsin Republican would not seek re-election in November.
“Speaker Paul Ryan is a truly good man, and while he will not be seeking re-election, he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question,” Trump tweeted.
Trump is scheduled to have dinner with Republican congressional leaders Wednesday night.
Ryan, who has served the House and his state’s 1st District since 1999, reluctantly became House speaker in 2015 after the abrupt departure of his predecessor, Ohio Rep. John Boehner. It was a position Ryan said he never dreamed of taking.
Rumors that he may leave office ― either before or after the 2018 midterms ― have circulated for months, in particular after Ryan led the overhaul of the U.S. tax code in December.
After reaching that goal, he reportedly felt comfortable enough to leave office, a decision that was influenced in part by Trump’s behavior, Axios reported.
Trump, having heard the rumors in December, personally called Ryan to express his displeasure if Ryan left Congress, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
“The speaker assured the president that those were not accurate reports and that they look forward to working together for a long time to come,” Sanders said.
In January, he told CBS News that his decision to run again would be decided in late spring, after consulting with his wife.
If he had decided to run, he would have faced Democrat Randy Bryce who has quickly racked up a considerable amount of campaign funding, though has been considered a long-shot candidate.
Either House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) or Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is expected to replace Ryan as House speaker, Politico reports.