A new bill introduced on Monday by Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) would allow only an elected House member to serve as Speaker after former President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE called the suggestion that he seek the gavel "so interesting."
The Constitution does not directly state that the House Speaker must be a member of the chamber, but to date, the role has never been filled by an outsider.
Boyle argued that the statute should be made clear, even if electing someone outside of Congress to serve as Speaker remains a long shot. His bill, titled the Mandating That Being an Elected Member Be an Essential Requirement for Speakership Act, would explicitly limit eligibility to current House lawmakers.
"The Speaker of the U.S. House is second in the United States presidential line of succession. That Donald Trump's name would even be tossed around as a potential speaker in the people’s house, 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 statement.
While all Speakers in U.S. history have been incumbent members of the House, any lawmaker can nominate whomever they wish during the roll call at the start of each session of Congress to elect the chamber's top-ranking leader.
In recent years, some lawmakers who didn't want to vote for their party's leader have opted to nominate outsiders.
In January 2019, for example, two Democrats voted for Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthDems punch back over GOP holdup of Biden SBA nominee Top Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal Democrats brace for battle on Biden's .5 trillion spending plan MORE (D-Ill.), another voted for now-President BidenJoe BidenUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Schumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks GOP Rep. Cawthorn likens vaccine mandates to 'modern-day segregation' MORE, and yet another voted for voting rights activist and 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
And at the start of the current session of Congress in January, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) voted for Duckworth, Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) cast his vote for House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDemocrats seek to cool simmering tensions Former Bad Boy rapper turned politician meets with US lawmakers Watch live: House Democratic leaders hold press conference MORE (N.Y.), and Democratic Reps. Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillKatie Hill launches effort to protect Democratic majority in House House panel approves B boost for defense budget Democrat unveils bill to allow only House members to serve as Speaker MORE (N.J.), Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinHoyer tells Israel removal of Iron Dome funding is 'technical postponement' Katie Hill launches effort to protect Democratic majority in House Biden approval ratings drop in seven key congressional districts: GOP-aligned poll MORE (Mich.) and Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerKatie Hill launches effort to protect Democratic majority in House GOP ramps up pressure on vulnerable Democrats in spending fight Conservative group targets Spanberger, Luria in new ads ahead of reconciliation bill MORE (Va.) voted "present" instead of endorsing Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats seek to cool simmering tensions Louisiana delegation split over debt hike bill with disaster aid House Democrats unveil legislation to curtail presidential power MORE (D-Calif.).
Trump last month was asked about the idea of him running for the House next year to try to win the Speaker's gavel during a radio show appearance.
“That’s so interesting,” he said in response to far-right radio host Wayne Allyn Root, noting that others had suggested he run for Senate. "But you know what, your idea might be better. It's very interesting."
Trump, who has floated another potential run for the White House in 2024, later said through a spokesman that he does not want to hold the gavel.
"[Trump] has zero desire to be Speaker," Trump spokesman Jason Miller told Punchbowl News.
While a handful of Democrats cast votes for people other than Pelosi in January, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWoodward: Milley was 'setting in motion sensible precautions' with calls to China Thompson says he hopes Jan 6. committee can complete work by 'early spring' Juan Williams: Shame on the anti-mandate Republicans MORE (R-Calif.) did not face any defections from Republicans at the time.