House Speaker Paul Ryan insisted Tuesday he would not accept the Republican nomination for president, and instructed GOP delegates to pick one of the candidates who has run for the job, though he did not exclude candidates who have dropped out.
"I do not want, nor will I accept the nomination for our party," Ryan said in an announcement at the Republican National Committee. "Count me out."
Ryan, R-Wis., will serve as chairman of the Republican National Convention scheduled for late July in Cleveland. He said he will instruct delegates who set the rules for the convention not only to leave his name out of it, but to limit potential nominees to candidates who have run this year.
"So let me speak directly to the delegates on this," Ryan said. "If no candidate has a majority on the first ballot, I believe you should only choose a person who has actually taken part in the primary."
Ryan made the declaration after weeks of speculation about whether he would swoop in as the GOP nominee amid the increasing likelihood of a contested convention. Ryan is respected by the GOP elders and some consider him a popular alternative to Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz, who are disliked by the GOP establishment.
The talk about his potential nomination even followed him on a congressional trip to Israel over the recent congressional recess. But Ryan said he called the news conference to end those discussions.
Even if delegates push to nominate him, Ryan said, "I will not allow my name" to be included on the ballot.
Speculation over Ryan's intention comes in part from his resistance to taking his current job as speaker. Ryan at first refused the position, but was later talked into it by his predecessor, former House Speaker John Boehner.
Ryan called it an "apples and oranges," comparison.
"I was already in the House," Ryan said. "That is entirely different than getting the nomination for president by your party without even running for the job."