A wild new plan to make Donald Trump president again just dropped, and it involves him taking over Nancy Pelosi’s job.
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said at Trump’s rally in Sarasota over the weekend that should the GOP win control of the House of Representatives after the 2022 midterms, he’d vote for Trump as Speaker of the House—despite the fact that Trump seemingly has no plans to run for the House whatsoever.
"The crooked establishment in both political parties in Washington DC, they want to get their power back, and I've got a different plan," Gaetz told the crowd in Florida. "After the next election cycle when we take back the House of Representatives, when we send Nancy Pelosi back to the filth of San Francisco, my commitment to you is that my vote for Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives will go to Donald J. Trump.”
“Can you imagine a Speaker Trump?” Gaetz asked, going on to say Trump would “throw all of the Democrats off of the committees” and “impeach Joe Biden.”
The Trump-as-speaker strategy has been floating around the right-wing internet for months, and for understandable reasons. Becoming Speaker of the House would bring Trump—who has repeatedly said he could retake the White House before 2024, the next presidential election—to third in line for the presidency behind Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. If Trump became Speaker and an impeachment effort against Biden and Harris was successful, Trump would become president.
The only flaw in this theory is that, as was the case with Trump’s two impeachments, the Senate would need two-thirds of senators to also vote to convict Biden, which isn’t likely.
There’s also the small matter of Trump showing little interest in running for House. Trump called the idea “very interesting” during an interview with right-wing radio host Wayne Allyn Root last month, but soon walked it back, later telling Fox Business that it was “highly unlikely” he’d run for office in 2022.
But although there’s no precedent for choosing a House Speaker who isn’t actually a member of the House, the Constitution is ambiguous on the question, saying only that “The House of Representatives shall chuse (sic) their Speaker and other Officers." And interestingly enough, several non-House members were nominated as Speaker in 2019 after the Democrats took the House—including Biden.
But actually making a non-House member Speaker would be a historical first, and as constitutional scholar David Forte told NBC News in 2015, the people who wrote the Constitution meant for the Speaker to be an actual member of the House. "It would have been unthinkable for the most populous house not to have its leader be part of the representatives who were elected by the people," Forte told NBC News.
Either way, Trump appears to have appreciated the gesture from his biggest Florida sycophant, praising Gaetz during his Florida rally appearance as a “friend of mine” and “a great guy.”
“He’s fighting, fighting, fighting. I guess they don’t like people that do that,” Trump said of Gaetz, who is currently under investigation into whether he paid underage girls for sex. “He’s somebody who’s very special in so many ways, and he’s a very brave guy: Matt Gaetz.”