Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz said this week he would support former President Donald Trump becoming the new Speaker of the House. While this may sound outlandish, it is not as impossible as it might seem.
On Tuesday, Gaetz posted a video from a news conference where a reporter asked him if he would support Trump for House Speaker. He said he would support the idea and had discussed the possibility with Trump himself, but those were the only details he gave.
“I keep my conversations with the former president between the two of us,” Gaetz said.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) December 7, 2021
The United States Constitution states, “The House of Representatives shall chuse (sic) their Speaker and other Officers,” NBC reported. Nowhere does it say the House must choose someone who is already a member of the House.
NBC said the official position of the office of the House Historian, agreed upon by the Clerk of the House, is that the speaker “has always been (but is not required to be) a House Member.”
Cleveland State University constitutional scholar David Forte said the founding fathers would have assumed the House would choose one of its own members.
“It would have been unthinkable for the most populous house not to have its leader be part of the representatives who were elected by the people,” Forte told NBC.
While that may be true, the founders did not specify this assumption in the Constitution, meaning it is not technically a requirement.
For that reason, it is not completely out of the question that a majority Republican House of Representatives could appoint Trump as the next speaker.
According to The Washington Post, Republicans need a net total of just five House seats to regain the majority. Given their success in off-year elections this November in Virginia and New Jersey, this is a distinct possibility.
While a Republican majority in the House is somewhat likely, the chances of Trump becoming speaker are admittedly much slimmer. Still, at least one member of the House has expressed public support for the idea, and there may be others who follow.
If Trump were to become speaker, he would then be in a position to impeach President Joe Biden. Earlier this year, conservative booster Rogan O’Handley laid out this scenario on his since-suspended Twitter account.
In O’Handley’s hypothetical situation, Trump would run for a Florida House seat in 2022 and win. Then, a newly-minted Republican House would appoint him speaker.
As speaker, Trump would have the authority to bring impeachment articles against Biden and/or Vice President Kamala Harris. According to O’Handley, becoming speaker would also not bar him from running for president in 2024.
Unlikely as this all is, the question of Trump becoming speaker has gained enough steam for a reporter to ask Gaetz about it during a news conference. This may indicate that even the slightest inkling of a Trump resurgence is causing the left to panic.