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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Trump ready to step in as US House speaker

The ex-president has expressed his openness to temporarily replacing Kevin McCarthy in the top legislative post

Former US President Donald Trump has confirmed his willingness to take the gavel as speaker of the House of Representatives on an interim basis, filling the powerful post until Republican lawmakers can agree on the party’s long-term legislative leader.

Trump told Fox News Digital on Thursday that he would fill the speaker role temporarily if needed. “I have been asked to speak as a unifier because I have so many friends in Congress,” he said. “If they don’t get the vote, they have asked me if I would consider taking the speakership until they get somebody longer-term because I am running for president.”

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Lawmakers are expected to vote next week on a replacement for Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted on Tuesday in the first such removal of a House speaker in US history. Choosing Trump would put the former president in charge of the legislative agenda in the Republican-controlled chamber, even as he polls as the leading candidate for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination.

The former president made the comments amid multiple media reports suggesting that he was plotting a visit to Washington next week to meet with Republican legislators and potentially throw his hat in the ring for the speakership.

Politico and other media outlets reported on Thursday that Trump is expected to make a stop in Washington on Tuesday, in between his presidential campaign events scheduled for Monday in New Hampshire and Wednesday in Florida.

Read more: US court finds Donald Trump guilty of fraud

The US has never had a House speaker who was not also an elected representative in the lower chamber of Congress, but the Constitution does not prohibit a non-member from holding the position. The speaker wields great influence in the US political system, determining which bills come up for votes and overseeing committee assignments. The role also includes being next in the line of succession to the presidency should the vice president be unable to replace an ousted or incapacitated commander-in-chief.

Trump fanned the flames of speculation on Wednesday, sharing social media posts supporting him for the role of House speaker. One of the posts showed a doctored photo of him standing in front of the speaker’s chair and holding the gavel.