It also can’t be lost on anyone that Trump would be 70 when sworn in, the oldest president to take his first oath of office. Yes, Trump may have “astonishingly excellent” health and could be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” as Trump’s personal doctor attests, but your odds of suffering a debilitating health problem are much higher at 70 (or 74, or 78) than at Ryan’s age of 46. A young VP would be a major asset for Trump.
So what’s the problem? Well, Ryan himself. He certainly hasn’t been shy about criticizing Trump’s lack of conservative bona fides. And really, what’s in it for him? He’s already the highest-ranking Republican in the country, third in line for the presidency. Would taking a step up to second-in-line really be a promotion, especially since a vice president has zero inherent authority and the speaker of the House wields enormous power? Besides, Ryan and Trump don’t see eye-to-eye on several key areas of policy. And then, maybe there’s the stigma of always being a presidential bridesmaid, never a bride — especially if the bride never quite consummates the marriage.
But potentially, it’s a win-win for Ryan. He doesn’t have to step down as House speaker to run for vice president, and if Trump loses, well, look what happened the last time Ryan ran for vice president and lost — he became speaker of the House. In fact, the slight probability that Trump will lose is probably the biggest reason Ryan might say yes. Republicans don’t seem to be putting much stock in Trump’s chances against Hillary Clinton, at least not yet, and if Ryan has his eyes on the 2020 nomination, being the VP candidate is traditionally a good way to become a frontrunner next time around.