Former President Donald Trump could become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives following the ouster of California Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
A motion to vacate the speakership, filed Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, passed Tuesday evening with a vote of 216 to 210. Gaetz and seven other Republicans joined a united Democratic caucus in voting to remove the California congressman.
Shortly after McCarthy was removed from office, Texas Rep. Troy Nehls — who joined the Republican majority in voting against McCarthy’s removal — announced that he intended to nominate Trump for the office as soon as possible.
“When the U.S. House of Representatives reconvenes, my first task will be to nominate Donald J. Trump for Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives,” Nehls said in a statement.
“President Trump, the greatest president of my lifetime, has a proven track record of putting America first and will make the House great again,” he added.
Republican Congressman Greg Steube of Florida also put forward Trump’s name as McCarthy’s successor in a statement post on X, formerly Twitter. Additionally, Republican Rep. Andy Ogles of Tennessee included Trump in a party Opinion poll potential candidates on X.
Gaetz voted for Trump as speaker several times during McCarthy’s inauguration hearings in January. He did not say he would nominate Trump for the post on Tuesday, but also suggested the role could be filled by someone who is not a sitting member.
The former president’s niece, Mary Trump, joked with an X post that her uncle would not be the next speaker because the position “requires work.”
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s office via email Tuesday evening seeking comment.
Although Trump would be considered for speaker because House rules do not require the position to be filled by a member, he has previously indicated he is not interested in the role.
Should the former president accept his nomination and manage to become the next speaker, it would be an extraordinary turn of events as he campaigns to regain the presidency in 2024.
Trump, who was held civilly liable for business fraud and pleaded not guilty to 91 counts this year, would immediately be third in line to the White House.
As a presidential candidate, the role of Speaker of the House of Representatives would give him an unprecedented platform. It is also unclear whether Trump’s use of the speakership would make it more difficult to enforce the gag orders issued in his numerous court cases.
Trump did not comment directly but indicated he would not approve of efforts to remove McCarthy before the vote. Write on Truth Social: “Why are Republicans always fighting among themselves, why aren’t they fighting the radical left-wing Democrats who are destroying our country?”
As of late Tuesday evening, neither Trump nor his campaign had publicly commented on McCarthy’s ouster or the suggestion that he should serve as McCarthy’s successor.