Senor: Paul Ryan Never Thought He'd Seek House Speaker But 'Stakes Are Too High'

October 21, 2015

Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) never expected to be pursuing the position of Speaker of the House but feels the "stakes are too high" for him to not take the mantle, Dan Senor said Wednesday on MSNBC.

House Speaker John Boehner announced last month he would step down at the end of October, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) abruptly withdrew from consideration Oct. 8. Ryan, who previously said he would not run, said Tuesday that he would be willing to serve if he could be a uniting figure for the Republican caucus.

Senor, the co-founder of the Foreign Policy Initiative, was the senior foreign policy adviser in 2012 to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who then selected Ryan as his running mate. MSNBC host Brian Williams noted Senor had gotten to know Ryan quite well as a result.

"I'm sure it has been torture for Paul Ryan, this decision," Williams said.

"It's the last job he ever thought he'd be pursuing," Senor said. "He has his dream job, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. This is the job he's wanted since he first wound up in Congress 17 years ago. He gets to work on tax reform. He gets to work on entitlement reform. He gets to work on an Obamacare health care reform replacement. Suddenly, he's thrust into this position where he's told by members of all ideological stripes in his conference that the House GOP conference is in jeopardy if the place is ungovernable.

"The Senate majority is in jeopardy if Senate Republicans can't hang onto those blue-state Republican incumbent senators running for re-election, and whether or not our Republican presidential nominee is going to be in trouble if the House looks completely ungovernable over the next 16, 17 months ... He's been hearing from all three of those groups conveying that message, and I just think he feels the stakes are too high."