Democrat unveils bill to allow only House members to be speaker after Trump said post would be ‘interesting’
A Democratic congressman has introduced a new bill that would ensure only elected members of the House of Representatives could serve as the speaker of the House, a movie almost certainly instigated by a passing comment made by former President Donald Trump.
Congressman Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania introduced the bill, which addresses what is essentially a loophole in the constitution when it comes to naming a speaker of the House. The constitution does not require the speaker to be a member of the House, meaning someone who is not a current congressional lawmaker – like Mr Trump – could be appointed to the position by Republicans, should they take back the chamber following the midterms.
Some Republican lawmakers and commentators have suggested that if Mr Trump does not run for the presidency again in 2024 that he could be made the speaker of the House, assuming an eventual Republican takeover.
Congressman Matt Gaetz was one of the proponents of the idea, even including a call to make Mr Trump the speaker in his fundraising emails.
He called the suggestion “so interesting”, which appears to have prompted Mr Boyle to ensure that the former president’s interest stays purely hypothetical.
Mr Boyle’s bill, called the “Mandating That Being an Elected Member Be an Essential Requirement for Speakership Act”, would essentially ensure Mr Trump could not become the speaker unless he were to win a congressional seat and join the House.
“The speaker of the US House is second in the United States presidential line of succession. That Donald Trump’s name would even be tossed around as a potential speaker in the people’s House, should serve as an alarm bell that our current requirements need to be amended in the name of protecting our nation and our democracy,” Mr Boyle said.
The speaker has always been a member of Congress, though there have been times when lawmakers have nominated non-members for the role.
The Hill reported that Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden – before his presidency – have all received votes to become the speaker despite not being members of the House.
Despite calling the suggestion “interesting” when it was pitched to him, Mr Trump has since said he has no desire to be the speaker of the House.
His spokesman, Jason Miller, told Punchbowl News that he “has zero desire to be speaker”.
If Mr Trump were to become the speaker, he would be the second in line for succession to the US presidency (after the vice president) in the event the president dies or is otherwise unable to fulfil their duty.