WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) should assume the speakership in January 2019.
“We all think Kevin is the right person to become speaker,” Ryan said in an exclusive interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd on Friday.
Ryan went on to say: “I fully anticipate handing the gavel over to the next speaker of the House after this term, and I think Kevin’s the right guy to step up.”
The interview is scheduled to air Sunday on “Meet the Press.”
On Wednesday, Ryan announced that he would not seek re-election to the House.
Many pundits had speculated that Ryan might contemplate retirement after having ushered the most comprehensive tax reform legislation since the Reagan administration through Congress.
Since reluctantly taking the speaker’s gavel in October 2015, Ryan has struggled to unite different factions of the Republican party. He also has had to navigate a sometimes contentious and often complicated relationship with President Donald Trump.
Ryan said his decision to retire was not motivated by political factors. Ryan said he wished to spend more time with his family in Janesville, Wis.
McCarthy, 53, has served in the House since 2007 and has occupied the No. 2 spot since 2014. McCarthy ran for speaker in 2015 following the resignation of Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) but withdrew from the race at the last minute and Ryan was elected.
McCarthy was expected to face a formidable challenge from House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) but that prospect faded when Scalise told “Fox and Friends” on Thursday that he would not run against McCarthy.