Former President Donald Trump said Thursday he would temporarily serve as the Speaker of the House until lawmakers vote for a permanent presiding officer.
“I have been asked to speak as a unifier because I have so many friends in Congress,” Trump told Fox News Digital. “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.”
“They have asked me if I would take it for a short period of time for the party, until they come to a conclusion—I’m not doing it because I want to—I will do it if necessary, should they not be able to make their decision,” Trump said.
Trump is reportedly debating whether to travel to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., next week to see if he can unite the Republican caucus as they prepare to nominate a new Speaker of the House.
The former president declined to weigh in much when Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) decided to file a motion to vacate the speakership, which led to the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — the first time in U.S. history that lawmakers removed a House speaker.
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) became temporary speaker as lawmakers hash out who will run for the gavel. A simple majority will be needed to secure victory.
Trump, the frontrunner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary race, suggested to reporters outside the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, where he stands trial for a civil fraud case, that he would be open to replacing McCarthy.
House Republicans have been mentioning Trump’s name for House Speaker ever since the party took control of the chamber in the 2022 midterm elections.
GOP lawmakers, including Reps. Troy Nehls of Texas, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, and Greg Steube of Florida said they would support a Trump speakership.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who entered the race for House Speaker on Wednesday, told Hannity that he thought Trump would make a “great” option.
“He’d be great, but actually, I want Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States — but if he wants to be speaker, great,” Jordan said. “That’s where we need him, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue [the White House], but if he wants to be speaker, that’s fine, too.”
Although Trump did not disclose which lawmakers said they would support his bid for speaker, he told Fox News that he would take the speakership for a short “30, 60, or 90-day period.”
“I would only do it for the party,” he said.
The U.S. House of Representatives does not require the speaker to be a member of the lower chamber, although elected officials have consistently voted for one.
Trump’s legal woes could present an issue if lawmakers elect him to serve in the lower chamber because the Republican Party’s own conference rules dictate that GOP leaders are required to step down “if indicted for a felony for which a sentence of two or more years imprisonment may be imposed.”
Ryan Saavedra contributed to this report.