- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Former House Speaker John A. Boehner said current Speaker Paul D. Ryan should be the Republican nominee for president if the party fails to chose a candidate on the first ballot at its national convention this summer in Cleveland.

“If we don’t have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I’m for none of the above,” Mr. Boehner said at the Future Industry Association conference in Boca Raton, Florida, Politico reported. “They all had a chance to win. None of them won. So I’m for none of the above. I’m for Paul Ryan to be our nominee.”

Mr. Ryan and his staff have maintained that the Wisconsin Republican and 2012 vice presidential candidate will not seek the White House this year.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Ryan said he would not accept a nomination for president.

The speaker is grateful for the support, but he is not interested. He will not accept a nomination and believes our nominee should be someone who ran this year,” AshLee Strong said Wednesday in an email to the Reuters news agency.

Mr. Boehner, who stepped down from the speakership last fall, has long whispered to friends that he thinks Mr. Ryan could be the savior of the Republican Party. He told the crowd Wednesday that “anybody can be nominated” at the Republican National Convention.

Businessman Donald Trump leads the pack of Republican candidates, but he will need to win 1,237 delegates to take the nomination. 

During the same question-and-answer session in Florida, Mr. Boehner referred to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another Republican presidential candidate, as “Lucifer.”

Mr. Boehner has previously called the senator, who led a failed Republican effort to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act, a “jackass.”

Mr. Boehner said he voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich in his state’s primary Tuesday. The two worked together in the House for 10 years.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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