House Chaplain Patrick Conroy’s sudden resignation has sparked a furor on Capitol Hill, with sources in both parties saying he was pushed out by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Conroy’s own resignation announcement stated that it was done at Ryan’s request.
“As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives,” the April 15 letter to Ryan, obtained by The Hill, states.
Through his office, Conroy, who has served as chaplain since 2011, declined to comment on Thursday. His resignation is effective May 24.
Four different sources — two from each party — say Conroy was told that he must retire or that he would be dismissed.
The message from Ryan was delivered by his chief of staff, Jonathan Burks.
The issue has riled House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who broached the episode during the Democrats’ whip meeting in the Capitol Thursday morning.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers are planning to send a letter to Ryan requesting additional information regarding Conroy’s dismissal; the group is currently circulating the letter among colleagues to collect more signatures.The thinking among Democrats is that Ryan pushed Conroy out “because Republicans thought he was aligned with Democrats,” according to a senior Democratic aide familiar with the discussion.
House chaplains, who offer an opening prayer each day the House is in session, are supposed to be nonpartisan.
It’s unclear exactly what if any political dispute, however, led to the chaplain’s dismissal.
A Democratic lawmaker said that the Speaker took issue with a prayer on the House floor that could have been perceived as being critical of the GOP tax-cut bill.
Read the full story at The Hill