Gaetz made the remark following Pennsylvania Democratic Representative Brendan Boyle’s introduction of the MEMBERS Act, which would require that only elected members or delegates be eligible to serve as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“The Speaker of the U.S. House is second in the United States presidential line of succession,” Boyle said in a statement to the press released last week. “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. As such, our laws should mandate that the Speaker be a member of the U.S. House.”
On Monday, Gaetz took to Twitter to comment on the proposed legislation.
They’re scared https://t.co/khasBpaA0O
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) July 26, 2021
The Constitution—which states that “the House of Representatives shall chuse (sic) their Speaker and other Officers”—does not expressly state that the House Speaker must be a member of the chamber.
Technically, a lawmaker can nominate whoever they want for the role during the roll call at the start of each session of Congress. However, the role has so far never been filled by an outsider.
In 2015, the Clerk of the House said the Speaker “has always been (but is not required to be) a House Member.”
“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,” David Forte, a constitutional scholar at Cleveland State University, told NBC News at the time.
If the MEMBERS Act is passed and signed into law, only elected members of the House of Representatives would be able to become the Speaker of the House.
In recent months, some Republican lawmakers and commentators have suggested Trump should be appointed Speaker by Republican lawmakers if they regain power in the 2022 midterm elections.
Gaetz, himself, has even vowed to nominate the former president to be the next Speaker during an address to a crowd gathered for Trump’s rally in Sarasota, Florida, on July 3.
“After the next election cycle when we take back the House of Representatives, when we send [current Speaker] 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,” the Republican congressman said.
Trump has also suggested he would consider running for a House seat in 2022 in a bid to become Speaker.
In an interview broadcast by far-right radio host Wayne Allyn Root on June 4, Trump was asked about the idea.
“Why not, instead of waiting for 2024, and I’m hoping you’ll run in 2024 but why not run in 2022 for the United States Congress? A House seat in Florida,” Root said.
“Win big. Lead us to a dramatic landslide victory. Take the House by 50 seats. And then you become the Speaker of the House, lead the impeachment of Biden and start criminal investigations against Biden. You’ll wipe him out for this last two years.”
Trump responded: “That’s so—that’s so interesting.”
“Do it! You’ll be a folk hero!” Root added.
“Yeah, you know it’s very interesting,” Trump said. “But you know what, your idea might be better. It’s very interesting.” Right Wing Watch first reported on the remarks.
Although Trump has floated the idea of another potential run for the White House in 2024, his spokesman confirmed that he does not want to run as House Speaker.
“[Trump] has zero desire to be Speaker,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller told Punchbowl News in June.