Newt Gingrich said he would consider taking up the Speaker’s gavel again if called upon to by House Republicans.

The former Speaker initially denied any interest in a return to Congress, but when pressed in an interview with radio show host Sean Hannity on Thursday, admitted he would consider it if he had the votes.

“If you were to say to me 218 have called you up and given you their pledge, obviously no citizen could ever turn down that kind of challenge,” Gingrich said, as first reported by the Washington Free Beacon


He compared the scenario to George Washington coming out of retirement to become America’s first president.

“This is why George Washington came out of retirement — because there are moments you can’t avoid,” Gingrich said.

Despite his willingness to take the House’s top job, Gingrich downplayed his chances, saying he would face many of the same obstacles as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyNancy Pelosi should be Speaker of the House Trump heads to California to meet first responders amid deadly wildfires Hillicon Valley: Russian-linked hackers may have impersonated US officials | Trump signs DHS cyber bill | Prosecutors inadvertently reveal charges against Assange | Accenture workers protest border enforcement work | App mines crypto for bail bonds MORE (R-Calif.), who abruptly dropped out of the race for Speaker on Thursday.

“Remember the McCarthy problem — it’s not getting a majority of the conference, it’s getting 218 votes,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich said he’s more likely to serve as a consultant to the House GOP than as its Speaker. He said it would “be more practical” to sit down with the GOP conference “and try to help them think this through.”

“I think this is a conference-wide problem,” said Gingrich, who served as the Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999 but resigned from his position and from Congress after House Republicans challenged his leadership.

He was instrumental in the Republican wave that took back the House for the first time in 40 years. 

-Updated on Oct. 9 at 9:13 a.m.