Report: ‘Soul Searching’ Paul Ryan Looking For An Exit

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is not happy. Even though he’s one of the most powerful men in Washington, he’s currently exploring the idea of resigning his seat and not seeking reelection in 2018. Or is he?

Politico is reporting that the Speaker of the House is suffering from “Trump-haustion” and wants out:

“Ryan has made it known to some of his closest confidants that this will be his final term as speaker. He consults a small crew of family, friends, and staff for career advice, and is always cautious not to telegraph his political maneuvers. But the expectation of his impending departure has escaped the hushed confines of Ryan’s inner circle and permeated the upper-most echelons of the GOP. In recent interviews with three dozen people who know the speaker—fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists—not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018.”

And while other Republicans are not speaking publicly about Ryan’s future plans, behind the scenes they’re discussing the topic, as The Huffington Post found when they contacted members of the Freedom Caucus:

“When the House Freedom Caucus gathered Monday night, members spent part of their meeting discussing a theory circulating on Capitol Hill and among the downtown Christmas parties that Ryan may believe he’s harpooned his personal white whale of tax reform and decide he’s finished.

“‘Is it a Boehner-meeting-the-pope moment?’ one Freedom Caucus member rhetorically asked HuffPost, referring to Ryan’s predecessor, John Boehner (R-OH), who hosted Pope Francis for a joint address to Congress in September 2015 and then announced his retirement the next morning.”

But to hear Ryan tell it, he’s not going anywhere, saying Thursday when asked about the multiple reports he might be leaving:

“I ain’t goin’ anywhere.”

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong reiterated that line, too, commenting:

“As the speaker himself said today, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.”

Then again, keep in mind this is the same Paul Ryan who said before he became Speaker of the House that he had absolutely no interest in the position.

Featured Image Via Gage Skidmore for Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0