Charles Koch is confident House Speaker Paul Ryan could emerge from the Republican National Convention as the party’s nominee if Donald Trump comes up at least 100 delegates shy, he has told friends privately.
Koch believes Ryan would be a “shoo-in” at a contested convention, should the campaign get to that point. Though Koch’s wealth gives him significant influence within the Republican Party, it does not necessarily translate into skill in political prognostication. Still, he and his brother David are fond of Ryan. As a source close to the brothers told The Huffington Post, they appreciate the agenda he has pursued as speaker, including opposition to tax extenders and heightened warnings against corporate welfare — positions that contrast with the admittedly vague portfolio pushed by Donald Trump.
One source close to Ryan said he would only be interested in it if the party could unite behind him, a scenario he can’t envision. “I don’t know what to tell you? He doesn’t want the nomination. And can you imagine the backlash from the Trump forces if someone who didn’t run for president wins the nomination? It would be complete chaos,” he said.
A second source close to the Koch brothers said he wasn’t aware of a conversation about Ryan, but it didn’t surprise him.
Emails to Charles and David Koch were not returned.
Mark Holden, general counsel for Koch Industries, told HuffPost the claim was “completely false.”
“Let me be clear, we never have advocated for a specific candidate in a presidential primary, and we have no plans to do so now,” Holden said.
People close to Ryan continue to insist publicly that he has no interest in the nomination. And one associate of the speaker said he “guarantees” there has been no conversation with Charles Koch about the possibility, “because Paul has not had any conversation about it. He won’t engage any conversation about it.”