The sudden resignation of House chaplain Patrick Conroy sparked a furor on Capitol Hill, with inside sources from both parties saying he was forced out by House Speaker Paul Ryan. Now, Conroy has retracted his resignation, saying there was no reason for him to be pushed out.
According to The Hill, “four different sources” say that Conroy was told he must retire or he would be fired.
On Nov. 6 — the first day of the markup on the GOP’s tax bill — Conroy in a prayer urged lawmakers to ensure the legislation did not exacerbate the nation’s gaping class disparities.
Democrats think Ryan pushed Conroy out “because Republicans thought he was aligned with Democrats,” according to a senior Democratic aide speaking to The Hill. House chaplains are supposed to be nonpartisan.
“May all Members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great Nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle,” Conroy said during his prayer. “May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”
Now The Washington Post is reporting that Rev. Conroy has rescinded his resignation and wants to remain in his position at least through the end of this year.
In a letter to Ryan, said that he resigned due to pressure from the Speaker’s staff, but now thinks there was no justifiable reason to have him step down.
“I have never been disciplined, nor reprimanded, nor have I ever heard a complaint about my ministry during my time as House chaplain,” Conroy wrote on Thursday.
“Recently, on April 27, you publicly indicated that my ‘pastoral services’ to some Members were lacking and that I did not offer adequate ‘spiritual counseling’ to others. This is not the reason that Mr. Burks gave me when asking for my ‘resignation,'” Conroy wrote.
“In fact, no such criticism has even been leveled against me during my tenure as House Chaplain. At the very least, if it were, I could have attempted to correct such ‘faults.’ In retracting my resignation, I wish to do just that,” he added.
According to Ryan, politics played no role in Conroy’s ouster. It was entirely due to Conroy’s alleged inability to fulfill his job’s duties.
“This was not about politics or prayers, it was about pastoral services,” Ryan said earlier this week according to WaPo. “And a number of our members felt like the pastoral services were not being adequately served, or offered.”
Ryan’s office says they haven’t read the full letter and will comment later today.
Featured image via screen grab/NBC News