House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan says he'll reject any attempt to draft him as a presidential candidate, trying to silence speculation that he could surface as a unity choice should Donald Trump or Ted Cruz falter.
"Let me be clear: I do not want nor will I accept the nomination of our party," Ryan said in remarks at the Republican National Committee.
Ryan, the top elected Republican in Washington and the party's 2012 vice-presidential candidate, has been the subject of persistent speculation that he could emerge as the nominee if an impasse over the party's pick develops at the July 18-21 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
In an interview with Milwaukee's WISN radio on Tuesday (local time), Ryan said: "I am going to try again today to put this bed. The answer is 'No' and my strong opinion is, if it goes to an open convention... my answer is the delegates should pick among the people who actually ran for president this year ...
"I made a really clear choice not to run for president. Therefore, I will not be nominated. I will not allow my name to be placed in nomination and it will not be me. ...I just want to be really crystal clear," he said.
Republicans who see a disaster looming in the November 8 presidential election if Trump or US Senator Cruz of Texas is the nominee, have harboured hopes of drafting a popular party figure like Ryan or 2012 candidate Mitt Romney.
For that to happen, no candidate would have garnered the 1237 delegates required to win the nomination on the first ballot at the convention, and delegates there would have to approve a consensus alternative on a second or subsequent ballot.
Ryan's announcement came on a day when long-shot Republican presidential candidate John Kasich portrayed himself as an antidote to what he called the divisive politics of Trump and Cruz and criticised them as wanting to take the United States down a "path of darkness."