Claiming Scalps: NBC Declares Paul Ryan Victim of 2018 ‘Blue Wave’

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI) left much of Washington, D.C. stunned Wednesday when he announced his retirement from Congress after over 19 years in office. But while ABC’s World News Tonight and CBS Evening News reported on his retirement and touched on GOP struggles in the midterms, NBC Nightly News almost celebrated it. Correspondent Kasie Hunt called it a victory for Democrats by declaring “Ryan couldn't escape the building blue wave.

In his introduction to the segment, anchor Lester Holt played up the supposed direness of Ryan’s retirement. “While there had been rumblings of a possible retirement, the move still sent shock waves across the capital and to vulnerable districts all across the country as the GOP fights to hang on to its majority in the House,” he suggested.

In a major blow for House Republicans,” Hunt asserted as her report began. “Speaker Paul Ryan rocking the capital with his decision not to run for reelection.” Ryan explaining how he wanted to spend more time with his teenage kids, how his father passed away when he was their age, and how he didn’t want to live with the regret later in life.

But Hunt didn’t buy it and blamed the Speaker’s retirement partly on conservative House members:

 

 

HUNT: Ryan insisting he's leaving to spend more time with his three teenage children.

RYAN: My kids weren't even born when I was first elected. What I realize is, if I'm here for one more term, my kids will only have ever known me as a weekend dad.

HUNT: But after just two and a half years, an already tough job was only getting harder trying to manage the stubborn conservatives who had pushed out John Boehner and given Ryan the gavel.

After recapping how Ryan became the Speaker of the House and the evolution of his relationship with President Trump, Hunt deduced “Ryan couldn't escape the building blue wave.” Doing the electoral math for the Democrats, she claimed “Democrats need 23 seats to win back the House in the midterm elections. Ryan deciding to exit on his terms before voters had the chance to strip his gavel this fall.

She then had former Republican radio host Charlie Sykes paint a terrifying picture of distressed Republicans everywhere. “The blow to the morale of Republican House members has got to be pretty dramatic, especially given how difficult this political environment already was,” he surmised.

Ryan's exit will spark an intense fight inside the party to replace him. His deputies, Steve Scalise and Kevin McCarthy already vying for support,” Hunt hyped as she wrapped up her report.

Paul Ryan is leaving Congress on his own terms for the sake of his family but NBC very much wants to make it about their pals in the Democratic Party. Claiming Ryan’s retirement as a scalp for the Dems essentially make NBC their hype men.

Transcript below, click "expand" to read:

 

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NBC Nightly News
April 11, 2018
7:07:00 PM Eastern [2 minutes 39 seconds]

LESTER HOLT: Now to the fallout from that surprise announcement, House Speaker Paul Ryan saying he is not running for reelection, quitting Congress come January. While there had been rumblings of a possible retirement, the move still sent shock waves across the capital and to vulnerable districts all across the country as the GOP fights to hang on to its majority in the House. We get the latest from NBC's Kasie Hunt on the hill.

[Cuts to video]

KASIE HUNT: In a major blow for House Republicans.

PAUL RYAN: Today, I'm announcing this year will be my last one as a member of the House.

HUNT: Speaker Paul Ryan rocking the capital with his decision not to run for reelection.

RYAN: You-all know that I did not seek this job. I took it reluctantly, but I have given this job everything that I have.

HUNT: Just before Ryan took the podium, the President tweeting the news calling Ryan, quote, “a truly good man.” Ryan insisting he's leaving to spend more time with his three teenage children.

RYAN: My kids weren't even born when I was first elected. What I realize is, if I'm here for one more term, my kids will only have ever known me as a weekend dad.

HUNT: But after just two and a half years, an already tough job was only getting harder trying to manage the stubborn conservatives who had pushed out John Boehner and given Ryan the gavel. Known as a policy wonk, Ryan was a fast-rising star. The Republican 2012 nominee for vice president. Then at 45, the youngest speaker in more than a century but then came Donald Trump's unexpected win. After Ryan had disavowed the Access Hollywood tape.

RYAN: I'm not going to defend Donald Trump, not now, not in the future.

HUNT: Since then, they worked together to pass tax reform but Ryan had to defend the President at every turn.

RYAN: Absolutely he's helped with tax reform. Do I wish he would tweet less? Of course, I do. He knows that but that's something I don't mind controlling. That's not something that is going to change.

HUNT: But Ryan couldn't escape the building blue wave. Democrats need 23 seats to win back the House in the midterm elections. Ryan deciding to exit on his terms before voters had the chance to strip his gavel this fall.

CHARLIE SYKES: The blow to the morale of Republican House members has got to be pretty dramatic, especially given how difficult this political environment already was.

[Cuts back to live]

HUNT: Ryan's exit will spark an intense fight inside the party to replace him. His deputies, Steve Scalise and Kevin McCarthy already vying for support. As for Ryan himself, he insists he is not interested in running for elected office ever again, including for president. Lester?

HOLT: Okay. Kasie Hunt, thank you.

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