• Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Trump floats serving as House speaker for ‘short period of time’ if needed until GOP settles on leader

Trump floats serving as House speaker for 'short period of time' if needed until GOP settles on leader


Former President Donald Trump said Thursday that, if needed, he would be open to serving as speaker of the House for a “short period of time” until Republican lawmakers settle on a candidate who could garner enough votes to serve as their leader.

However, a source close to Trump told CNN later Thursday that the former president has privately told those around him that he wants to endorse Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio for speaker, and believes he is the best person for the job. Separately, a source who has discussed the speaker’s race with Trump said he is expected to endorse Jordan in the near future.

The former president is not expected to go to Capitol Hill, the source close to Trump said. He had been considering a visit to speak with Republicans in the coming days as they weigh a new speaker, a source familiar with discussions told CNN earlier in the day.

CNN has reached out to Trump.

Trump has been approached in recent days by GOP lawmakers who have floated the idea of him serving as speaker, even on a temporary basis, one source familiar with the conversations said, and has been “intrigued” by the idea.

“They have asked me if I would take it for a short period of time for the party, until they come to a conclusion – I’m not doing it because I want to – I will do it if necessary, should they not be able to make their decision,” Trump told Fox News Digital. Trump told Fox he was focused on his presidential campaign but that he would be open to serving for a “30-, 60-, or 90-day period.”

Trump has told those with him this week that while he is “flattered” and “honored” that people have raised his name, he is not seriously entertaining the idea, according to two people who have spoken with him about Kevin McCarthy’s ouster.

Trump is “entirely focused” on running for president, the two sources said, characterizing his public posturing on the narrative that he could be elected speaker as Trump relishing the attention.

“A lot of people have been calling me about speaker. All I can say is we’ll do whatever is best for the country and the Republican Party,” Trump told reporters outside the courthouse in lower Manhattan on Wednesday during a break from his civil fraud trial.

If he did run, Trump would need to earn the majority of the votes of lawmakers present and voting, which could prove difficult for a former president who is polarizing even among members of the GOP conference. Rep. Mike Lawler, a GOP freshman from a swing district in New York, told CNN earlier Thursday that he doesn’t see a role for Trump in the speaker’s race.

Asked by CNN’s Jim Sciutto whether he wanted the former president to come to the Capitol, Lawler said, “I think the choice for speaker will be someone who is currently a member of Congress and I think these discussions should be among the members.”

And even if Trump were to be elected, it’s unclear whether he could get around House Republican conference rules that state any member who is indicted on felony charges that carry a prison sentence of two or more years is required to step down from leadership. Those rules are self-enforced and could be changed – but only after a speaker is elected.

The internal discussions on Trump’s potential trip to the Capitol, first reported by the The Messenger, come as the House is essentially paralyzed while it lacks a speaker.

Republicans are slated to hear from speaker candidates at a forum next Tuesday, setting up the next possible House-wide speaker vote on Wednesday, October 11. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan have announced their candidacies, and others could still enter the race, but it remains to be seen whether the conference can coalesce around a viable successor to McCarthy.

Republican Reps. Troy Nehls of Texas and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia have publicly said they would support Trump for the role.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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