Major GOP Figure Won’t Rule Out Stealing Nomination From Trump

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) refused to rule out accepting the Republican presidential nomination at a contested convention. The comments from the man who is second in line to the presidency were published on Tuesday night as Donald Trump swept to major wins in Republican primaries in Florida, Illinois, and other states.

The story was broken by John Harwood of CNBC:

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.”

The Republican establishment is in a panic, as Trump has continued to march towards the 1,237 delegates he needs to win to earn the nomination. He crushed Senator Marco Rubio in his home state of Florida, winning all 99 of the delegates there up for grabs. Early projections indicated that Trump had about 260 more delegates than his closest competitor, Senator Ted Cruz.

Cruz and Governor John Kasich remained in the race as Rubio dropped out, betting they could hold on until the GOP convention in Cleveland this summer and possibly earn the nomination at a contested convention.

Those candidates and the establishment are betting on the remote possibility that Trump would fail on the first convention ballot, after which the delegates are no longer bound to the candidate who won primaries and caucuses – currently Trump.

Ryan winning the nomination would also anger anti-establishment Republicans and conservatives, who opposed the Speaker in the internal fight over who would succeed then-Speaker John Boehner when he decided to retire.

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