Kevin McCarthy was recently removed as Speaker of the House. His removal came from a rebellion led by Florida congressman Matt Gaetz after McCarthy relied on Democratic votes to get the funding bill passed to avert a government shutdown.
Since the downfall of McCarthy from the speakership, the position became vacant and few prominent names were mentioned to occupy the office including the name of Former President Donald Trump.
Why does the speakership matter? It was established in 1789 by Article I, Section II, of the U.S. Constitution, and the role of the Speaker of the House to administer the oath of office to the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, giving Members permission to speak on the House Floor, designating Members to serve as Speaker pro Tempore, counting and declaring all votes, appointing Members to committees, sending bills and resolutions that pass in the House. Moreover, the position is second in the United States presidential line of succession, after the vice president and ahead of the president pro tempore of the Senate. In short, the Speaker of the House is a powerful position, and the Speaker can play a significant role in shaping the course of American politics.
Can Donald Trump become Speaker of the House? According to sources close to the Former President and an interview granted to Fox News, President Trump stated that would accept House speakership for a “short period” while Republicans decide on a permanent replacement. Whether or not Donald Trump can become Speaker of the House is a complex question with no easy answer.
On the one hand, the Constitution does not explicitly require the Speaker of the House to be a member of Congress. In fact, the only requirement for Speaker is that they be elected by a majority of the House of Representatives. This means that technically, Donald Trump could be elected Speaker of the House even though he is not a member of Congress.
However, there are a number of practical and political challenges that would make it very difficult for Donald Trump to become Speaker of the House. First, he would need to win the support of a majority of House Republicans. This would be a difficult task, given that Trump is a divisive figure within the Republican Party. Second, even if Trump were to win the support of a majority of House Republicans, he would still need to be elected by a majority of the full House of Representatives.
Finally, even if Donald Trump were to somehow overcome all of these challenges and become Speaker of the House, it is unclear whether he would be able to serve in that role. The Republican conference's rules for the 118th Congress suggest that Trump could be ineligible to serve as speaker because he has been indicted on numerous felony charges.
Prior to consider President Trump for the speakership, it is essential to reiterate that Donald Trump is not an ideological political leader. While his stances are based on populism and nationalistic rhetoric, his political positions have often been inconsistent and contradictory, and he has been known to change his views on issues depending on what he believes will be popular with his base. For example, Trump has flip-flopped on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and healthcare. He has also taken contradictory positions on issues such as trade and immigration.
Trump's lack of ideological consistency has led some to accuse him of being opportunistic and unprincipled. So there is no guarantee that if Trump were to be elected Speaker of the House, he would necessarily protect Republican and conservative principles.
Let us not forget that at the end of the day, Donald Trump is at his core, a businessman, and the primary skill of a businessman is to negotiate deals that would benefit both parties in the transaction. President Trump has a transactional approach to politics. Ideologies are secondary to him. Republicans should factor that in their decision to make Trump the next Speaker of the House.