Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, and even the far-right cable network Newsmax all floated the idea of Trump taking over the role Tuesday evening, just minutes after McCarthy’s ejection from House leadership.
“Donald Trump should be nominated as a litmus test to all these Republicans,” Jones said emphatically on InfoWars. “With all the fake charges and all the fake trials, how awesome would it be to make Donald Trump Speaker of the House?”
The phrase “Nominate Trump” was also trending Tuesday on Elon Musk’s social media site X, formerly known as Twitter—inspired at least in part by Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) unofficially nominating the former president via a viral tweet. Rep. Greg Steube quickly followed with his own suggesting that Trump could fill the role.
Kevin McCarthy will NOT be running again as Speaker.
I nominate Donald J. Trump for Speaker of the House.
— Congressman Troy E. Nehls (@RepTroyNehls) October 3, 2023
Shortly after, Fox News host Sean Hannity—who remains incredibly close with the former president and was likened to a “shadow chief of staff” by White House staffers during Trump’s tenure—said he had been in touch with several Republican members of Congress who planned to formally pursue the idea. Hannity even went so far as to suggest that Trump may be open to the idea.
“I have been told that Trump might be open to helping the Republican party, at least in the short term, if necessary,” Hannity said.
Later in his program, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a Trump ally and potential candidate for the speakership himself, shrugged off the idea but didn’t rule it out, saying: “I want him to be the next President of the United States, but if he wants to be speaker, that’s fine too.”
Hannity: Sources are telling me that some Republicans have been in contact with and has started an effort to draft former Trump to be the next speaker and I have been told that Trump might be open to helping the Republican party at least in the short term if necessary. pic.twitter.com/V6A11Iexct
— Acyn (@Acyn) October 4, 2023
The potential for a wild-card outsider campaign for the speakership wasn’t lost on Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who submitted the original “motion to vacate” that led to McCarthy being booted from his position. The MAGA firebrand told reporters Monday night that though he would support several current members of Congress for the role, he wasn’t ruling out “other Americans who wouldn’t necessarily need to be a member of the body to be considered for the speakership.”
Other potential candidates include Reps. Tom Emmer (R-MN), who Gaetz suggested would be a good candidate as recently as last month, and Steve Scalise (R-LA), who is reportedly favored by Emmer, the House Majority Whip.
The entire saga began over the weekend when Gaetz took issue with McCarthy’s decision to move on a stopgap spending bill to avert an imminent government shutdown—one that ultimately passed with the support of both Democratic lawmakers and the White House.
Just eight other Republicans—as well as all House Democrats—voted to boot McCarthy, giving him the rare distinction of being the only House Speaker to be removed by their colleagues.
The Republicans who voted against McCarthy were Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Ken Buck (R-CO), Tim Burchett (R-TN), Eli Crane (R-AZ), Bob Good (R-VA), Nancy Mace (R-SC), Matt Rosendale (R-MT), and Gaetz.
The final tally stood at 216 members in favor of ousting the California Republican, with 210 opposed.