Donald Trump on Potential Speakership Bid: ‘Total Focus Is Being President’

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a visit to the Iowa State Fair, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. Trump’s response this week to his fourth criminal indictment in five months follows a strategy he has used for years against legal …
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File

Former President Donald Trump downplayed the idea of becoming speaker of the House on Wednesday while noting “a lot of people have been calling” him about the possibility.

“All I can say is we’ll do whatever’s best for the country and for the Republican Party,” Trump said in the New York State courthouse.

“I’ll do whatever it is to help, but my total focus is being president and honestly making America great again — because we are living in a country in decline,” he said. “This is a country that’s failing badly.”

Trump added the Republican Party has “great people” who can “do a great job as speaker.”

A few of the leading contenders for the position appear to be Judiciary chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA). Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the majority whip, is also a top contender.

“A lot of people have asked me about it [the speakership race],” Trump said, again noting his focus is on the race for president, where he is leading “by 50 points,” he said. “My focus is totally on that. If I can help them in the process, I would do it.”

The speakerhip race comes as a majority of House members ousted former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) with a vote of 216-210.

Eight Republicans, along with the Democrat caucus, voted to remove him: 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 Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).

McCarthy apparently believed Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised to “back” him if Republicans used a motion to vacate. “I think today was a political decision by the Democrats,” McCarthy said during a Tuesday press conference.

“In this Congress, it is the responsibility of House Republicans to choose a nominee & elect the Speaker on the Floor,” Pelosi posted on X before the vote. “At this time there is no justification for a departure from this tradition.”

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.


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