Speaker Ryan backs McCarthy for House GOP leadership role

Speaker Ryan backs McCarthy for House GOP leadership role

Speaker Ryan backs McCarthy for House GOP leadership role

McCarthy has raised more money for Republicans and some consider him closer to President Donald Trump, but Scalise has more support from the party's conservative House members.

"I think we all believe that Kevin is the right person", Ryan, who announced his retirement this week, told moderator Chuck Todd in an excerpt of the exclusive interview released Friday. "I'm not saying every single person in Congress".

Since reluctantly taking the Speaker's gavel in October 2015 Ryan has struggled to unite different factions of the Republican party. When former House Speaker John Boehner resigned, all eyes were on the California Republican. But this time will be different, Ryan said, because "what's changed is we have gotten a lot done".

"I think what we want to do is focus on getting our jobs done, what we want to do is focus on executing our agenda, focus on fighting for our majority, and all these other things would be needless distractions from the task at hand", Ryan said. Asked if it was his understanding that Scalise felt that McCarthy should assume Ryan's role, the curent House speaker said "that's right".

McCarthy, 53, has served in the House since 2007 and has occupied the number-two spot since 2014.

Still, Ryan argued he was envisioning this speaker's race would be "a more seamless transition" than the race in 2015 that led to members of the GOP conference having to draft Ryan after McCarthy stepped aside.

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