Democratic Representative Brendan Boyle on Friday reintroduced a bill requiring that a House speaker must also be a House member, aiming to block former President Donald Trump from taking the position.
Following the removal of Kevin McCarthy as speaker, Trump has been thrown into the mix to replace him. A motion to vacate the speakership, filed by Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida last week, succeeded in a 216-210 vote as Gaetz and seven other Republicans joined a unified Democratic caucus in ousting the California congressman. Shortly afterward, Republican Representatives Troy Nehls of Texas and Greg Steube of Florida announced they intend to nominate Trump.
“The Speaker of the House of Representatives is second in the presidential line of succession. Donald Trump’s name continues to be invoked as a potential Speaker, in the midst of Republican-led chaos and dysfunction, should serve as an alarm bell that our current requirements need to be amended in the name of protecting our nation and our democracy,” Boyle said in a press release announcing the bill.
“Our House Rules should mandate that the Speaker be an elected Member of the U.S. House,” Boyle added.
The Pennsylvania congressman’s bill “would serve as a check against those who would seek to undermine the authority and responsibilities of the Speaker’s office,” according to CBS News congressional correspondent, Scott MacFarlane, who shared the news on X, formerly Twitter.
If the former president were to accept his nomination and become the next House speaker, it would represent an unprecedented turn of events as he campaigns to regain the presidency in 2024.
However, Trump has previously indicated that he is not interested in the role.
“No, I think that it’s not something I wanted. A lot of people bring it up. It’s brought up all the time,” Trump said in a March 2022 interview with Just the News. “No, it’s not something I want to do. I want to look at what’s happening, and then we’re going to be doing something else. No, it’s not something I would be interested in.”
Some say the timing of the bill could signal that Democrats believe it’s possible Trump could get enough support to become speaker.
As one X user, James, said: “With Dems it is ALWAYS about holding power. Their fears cannot be realized….”
Another, Michela, agreed with the basis of the bill, stating: “this I agree with. No breaking of the precedent that whoever oversees the House is part of it and subject to ALL the members.”
This comes amid Trump’s ongoing legal troubles—he was found civilly liable for business fraud and has pleaded not guilty to 91 felony criminal counts spread over four indictments this year—which have been noted by Illinois Democratic Representative Sean Casten as to why the GOP may have already blocked any attempt to elect Trump as House speaker.
“I would direct your attention to rule 26(a) of the House Republican Conference rules for the 118th Congress,” Casten on wrote on X while sharing the GOP’s rules, which state that a member of the Republican leadership “shall step aside if indicted for a felony for which a sentence of two or more years imprisonment may be imposed.”
In addition to the support for Trump to become House speaker, Representative Jim Jordan and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise have announced themselves as candidates.
Newsweek has reached out to Boyle and Trump via email on Monday.