Cover Photo: AP News | Andrew Harnik
House Republicans are currently in a scramble to replace the role of Speaker of the House with some suggesting former president Donald Trump take over following Representative Kevin McCarthy’s removal from the position.
On Tuesday, McCarthy was forced to vacate the seat in a 216–210 bipartisan vote within the House of Representatives. The end of his tenure marked the first time in United States history a speaker was ousted from office during a legislative session.
This decision came after Representative Matt Gaetz (R) issued a motion to vacate McCarthy after he narrowly avoided a government shutdown with House Democrats. Gaetz accused him of not upholding promises he made to secure his win as speaker back in January.
While Representative Patrick McHenry (R) fulfills the role as interim Speaker as of now; he will be replaced during internal elections as soon as the house reconvenes in their next session. Possible successors include House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan who have announced their bids to run.
However, several House Republicans, including Representatives Troy Nehls and Marjorie Taylor Greene, voiced their endorsements for Trump to take over the position for the time being. Though Trump is not a member of Congress, the position of speaker technically is not required to serve in the House.
“They have asked me if I would take it for a short period of time for the party until they come to a conclusion,” Trump told reporters Wednesday. “I’m not doing it because I want to. I will do it if necessary, should they not be able to make their decision.”
Yet, House Republicans might face challenges appointing Trump as speaker if they choose to do so, including their slim majority. According to the House Republican Conference rules, anyone indicted for a felony carrying a possible sentence of more than two years is prohibited from taking office of any committee chairs or other leadership positions, including the Speaker.
Trump currently faces several indictments accumulating over 90 different felony charges related to falsifying business records, attempting to overthrow the 2020 presidential election, and mishandling classified documents. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all of these charges.
As of yesterday, Trump announced his endorsement of Jim Jordan for the role of Speaker in a Truth Social post, and he also plans to visit the U.S. Capitol next week to “unify the party.” While this might deter his supporters in the House from electing him to the office of Speaker, if enough members choose to change their conference rules then the possibility remains.
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