House Speaker Paul Ryan said Republicans are likely facing a contested convention this summer, despite GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump's commanding delegate lead. Ryan, who oversees the presidential nominating convention, said Republicans will be ready for a fight if necessary when the weeklong event begins in July.
“Nothing has changed other than the perception that this is more likely to be an open convention than we thought before,” Ryan told reporters Thursday. “We’re getting our minds around the idea that this could very well become a reality and that those of us who are involved in the convention need to respect that.”
Ryan said he isn't looking to become the GOP presidential nominee if no candidate can secure the necessary 1,237 delegates before the July nominating convention in Cleveland. He said the nominee will emerge from the candidates who have run campaigns during the 2016 contest.
“My goal is to be dispassionate and to be Switzerland, to be neutral and dispassionate and to make sure the rule of law prevails,” Ryan said, “and to make sure that the delegates make their decision however the rules require them to do that.”
But Ryan has changed his position before. Only weeks earlier, Ryan told reporters in it was “ridiculous to talk about” a contested convention.
Ryan, Mitt Romney’s 2012 vice presidential running mate, said he will need to “bone up” on his ceremonial duties and party rules governing what could become an ugly floor fight for the nomination, the Hill reported.
“It’s not going to be me. It should be someone running for president. … Let’s just put this thing to rest and move on,” he said.
Trump supporters have warned GOP leaders that a contested convention could wound the party beyond repair.
"Were they to do that, it would destroy the Republican Party as we know it,” Debbie Dooley, a founder of the Tea Party Patriots and a Trump supporter in Georgia, told International Business Times this week.