Donald Trump says he'd be willing to serve as US House speaker

'I would only do it for the party' short term, leading Republican presidential candidate says

Former US president Donald Trump plans to visit Washington to meet Republicans on the future of the House speakership. Reuters
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Former US president Donald Trump on Thursday said he would be willing to serve as speaker of the House of Representatives, days after the position became vacant in a historic vote.

“I have been asked to speak as a unifier because I have so many friends in Congress,” Mr Trump, who is the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, told Fox News Digital, without naming who had asked him to step up as a candidate.

“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.”

After teasing the idea of being speaker and receiving endorsements from members of Congress including Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mr Trump issued an endorsement for Representative Jim Jordan through a post on his Truth Social platform.

Mr Jordan and Representative Steve Scalise have both announced they are running for the speakership.

Representative Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday was removed as leader of the chamber, which has a slim Republican majority, in an unprecedented move.

Mr McCarthy was ousted by a “motion to vacate” brought by far-right Representative Matt Gaetz, who was upset over a deal made to keep the government open in a stopgap funding bill.

“They have asked me if I would take it for a short period of time for the party, until they come to a conclusion” on a more permanent replacement, Mr Trump said.

He also confirmed to Fox News that he plans to visit Washington next Tuesday, when House Republicans return to Capitol Hill to settle on candidates for a new speaker.

It would be Mr Trump's first visit to the US Capitol since the deadly insurrection on January 6, 2021.

A House vote is expected next week.

Politico and Bloomberg reported that the House Republican Conference has a rule that bars anyone from serving as speaker if they are indicted for a felony. Mr Trump is currently facing felony charges in several cases.

It is not known if House Republicans would be willing to make an exception for Mr Trump or if he would be able to receive the necessary 218 votes to be elected speaker.

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Updated: October 06, 2023, 5:56 PM