A new bill introduced on Monday by Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) would allow only an elected House member to serve as Speaker after former President TrumpDonald TrumpGreene gets 12-hour Twitter suspension over COVID-19 misinformation Aides who clashed with Giuliani intentionally gave him wrong time for Trump debate prep: book Overnight Defense: Afghan evacuees to be housed at Virginia base | Biden looks to empty Gitmo MORE called the suggestion that he seek the gavel “so interesting.”
The Constitution does not directly state that the House Speaker must be a member of the chamber, but to date, the role has never been filled by an outsider.
Boyle argued that the statute should be made clear, even if electing someone outside of Congress to serve as Speaker remains a long shot. His bill, titled the Mandating That Being an Elected Member Be an Essential Requirement for Speakership Act, would explicitly limit eligibility to current House lawmakers.
“The Speaker of the U.S. 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,” Boyle said in a statement.
While all Speakers in U.S. history have been incumbent members of the House, any lawmaker can nominate whomever they wish during the roll call at the start of each session of Congress to elect the chamber’s top-ranking leader.
In recent years, some lawmakers who didn’t want to vote for their party’s leader have opted to nominate outsiders.
In January 2019, for example, two Democrats voted for Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthDemocrat unveils bill to allow only House members to serve as Speaker Schumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats up Here’s what Congress is reading at the beach this summer MORE (D-Ill.), another voted for now-President BidenJoe BidenAides who clashed with Giuliani intentionally gave him wrong time for Trump debate prep: book Biden says Eid al-Adha carries ‘special meaning’ amid pandemic Manchin to back nominee for public lands chief MORE, and yet another voted for voting rights activist and 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
And at the start of the current session of Congress in January, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) voted for Duckworth, Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) cast his vote for House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDemocrat unveils bill to allow only House members to serve as Speaker Progressive fighting turns personal on internal call over antitrust bills Democratic tensions simmer in House between left, center MORE (N.Y.), and Democratic Reps. Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillDemocrat unveils bill to allow only House members to serve as Speaker Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections Moderate Democrats call for 9/11-style panel to probe COVID-19 origins MORE (N.J.), Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinDemocrat unveils bill to allow only House members to serve as Speaker House GOP campaign arm hits vulnerable Democrats on inflation in July 4 ad campaign DHS official told lawmakers there’s concern about Trump August reinstatement conspiracy theory MORE (Mich.) and Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerDemocrat unveils bill to allow only House members to serve as Speaker Moderate Democrats call for 9/11-style panel to probe COVID-19 origins Former staffer of Bob McDonnell launches challenge against Spanberger in Virginia MORE (Va.) voted “present” instead of endorsing Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiJim Jordan among McCarthy picks for Jan. 6 panel Democrat unveils bill to allow only House members to serve as Speaker Vaccinated Florida Republican tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-Calif.).
Trump last month was asked about the idea of him running for the House next year to try to win the Speaker’s gavel during a radio show appearance.
“That’s so interesting,” he said in response to far-right radio host Wayne Allyn Root, noting that others had suggested he run for Senate. “But you know what, your idea might be better. It’s very interesting.”
Trump, who has floated another potential run for the White House in 2024, later said through a spokesman that he does not want to hold the gavel.
“[Trump] has zero desire to be Speaker,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller told Punchbowl News.
While a handful of Democrats cast votes for people other than Pelosi in January, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyJim Jordan among McCarthy picks for Jan. 6 panel Democrat unveils bill to allow only House members to serve as Speaker Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections MORE (R-Calif.) did not face any defections from Republicans at the time.