Stephen Colbert joked with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday about the possibility of the congressman accepting the GOP presidential nomination in the case of a contested convention.
After asking Ryan his 2016 agenda for House Republicans, the interview shifted to a subject that has been a source of contention during the election cycle – whether someone who has not run in the primary, namely Ryan, would step in if GOP nominee has not been determined before July.
“No,” Ryan said after Colbert pressed him on the same question several times.
“Like a no no?” Colbert asked. “Or one of those no, I don’t want to be speaker of the House, but I’ll accept it if you just give it to me no’s?”
Colbert’s inquiry came as GOP front-runner Donald Trump pulled off a decisive victory in the New York primary, giving him a boost in both momentum and the delegate count. However, if the businessman cannot secure at least 1,237 delegates prior to the Republican National Convention, someone else could walk away with the nomination. Ryan has been continually floated as an alternative to Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Ryan’s repeated denial on “The Late Show” comes after he told Republicans to disregard him from the process in a speech last week. In a persistent effort to put speculation to rest, Ryan maintained during the Washington press conference that he was uninterested in the prospect of being on the general election ballot.
“Count me out,” Ryan said on April 12. “I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee, to be the president, you should actually run for it. I chose not to. Therefore, I should not be considered. Period.”
As Colbert noted, Ryan has reversed positions in the past. Ryan said last September that he did not want to be speaker of the House, then sought the job a month later following pressure from the Republican caucus, which considered him to be a consensus candidate.
However, Ryan reiterated Tuesday that he does not want, nor will he accept the Republican nomination.
“It’s a no no,” Ryan told Colbert.