Today marked the fourth day of voting for a new speaker in the United States House of Representatives.
After GOP leader Kevin McCarthy lost an 11th vote on Thursday, the House adjourned without a speaker for the third night in a row — the longest period without a speaker in a century. In the face of opposition from a group of Republicans who blocked his bid for the House’s top job, McCarthy scrambled to find a compromise.
Although McCarthy picked up 14 more votes on Friday, it wasn’t enough to clinch the speakership in the week’s 12th and 13th votes.
By the 11th vote on Thursday, McCarthy had fallen from 203 votes on Tuesday to 200, far short of the 218 votes needed to win the speakership. It is possible for him to lose only four votes in the House since there are 222 Republicans in the chamber.
Despite one absentee on Thursday and two out on Friday, he received 213 votes in the first two votes Friday. He needed 217 to win.
In the meantime, former President Trump had a little fun with the situation.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), one of the main never-McCarthy members, voted for Trump as House speaker a number of times.
Someone Photoshopped Trump as the Speaker with Biden giving the State of the Union speech because that would be epic.
On Truth Social, Donald Trump posted a photo of President Biden’s State of the Union address with himself photoshopped in as the Speaker of the House. pic.twitter.com/114TkMvqA3
— News Bro (@Newzbro) January 6, 2023
For the last two years, Gaetz has touted the possibility that Trump could be the next leader of the House. Last February, Gaetz told Sebastian Gorka’s America’s First that he met with Trump to discuss the possibility. It was the second time he tried.
“I just think America deserves that moment when Nancy Pelosi hands Donald Trump the gavel,” Gaetz explained.
“I told him you don’t even have to be speaker for the whole day. You could do it for like three or four hours, give us a great speech, make a few structural reforms to the institution and then you could resign and we could have another election for speaker.”
The night before Gaetz appeared on Gorka’s show, Gaetz mentioned the idea to Trump in Florida, but acknowledged, “I don’t know if I’ve fully got him to swallow the hook.”
It takes only one vote to nominate someone for the post of speaker, and they do not need to be a Congress member.
On Gorka’s show, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said her choice for the next speaker if Republicans regain the House must be someone “willing to fight for things that matter,” such as conservatives like herself and Trump being banned from social media.
“Gaetz has not held back his feelings toward McCarthy, questioning this week “how long” McCarthy will stay in the House speaker’s office “before he is considered a squatter,” the Independent Journal Review reported.
The Florida Republican is among several other Republicans who have opposed McCarthy’s effort to win the speaker’s race.
Trump expressed his support for McCarthy earlier this week in his bid for speaker, as IJR reported.
In a post on Truth Social on Wednesday, the former president wrote: “REPUBLICANS, DO NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT [and] EMBARRASSING DEFEAT. IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE, YOU DESERVE IT. Kevin McCarthy will do a good job, and maybe even a GREAT JOB – JUST WATCH!”
And later Wednesday, he also expressed his support for Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), but not as House speaker.
“He will have his day, and it will be a big one, but not now!” Trump wrote.
Donalds was nominated as House speaker this week. Additionally, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) was nominated by Democrats.
CNBC reported Friday that “McCarthy has lost the 13th attempt to be elected House speaker.”
But in the process, the California lawmaker gained another new vote from a former holdout, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, putting McCarthy the closest he has been so far to clinching the gavel.
The 13th vote came on the heels of a striking change in McCarthy’s fortunes earlier in the afternoon, when 14 former Republican holdouts switched their votes to back him after days of voting for other candidates.
The 13th vote was also the first time this week that no Republican has stood up to formally nominate an alternative candidate to McCarthy, another sign that McCarthy and his allies are slowly wearing down the opposition.
According to Gaetz, he discussed the issue of Speaker with Trump in December of 2021.
Gaetz discussed the 2022 midterm elections during Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest convention and Republican chances of retaking the House.
In a conversation with Jordan Conradson, Gaetz discussed the possibility of Trump becoming the next House Speaker and the GOP’s prospects of making that happen given Trump’s status as a private citizen.
Conradson: We will take back the house in 2022. Do you support President Trump for speaker of the house in 2022?
Gaetz: I was the first member of Congress to pledge that I will nominate Donald J Trump for Speaker of the House and people like to laugh but you know what? They laughed at the idea of him becoming president too. And that happened. So speaker Trump’s got a pretty good ring to it to me.
Conradson: So have you spoken to President Trump, possibly Speaker Trump about his plans for 2022?
Gaetz: I have. What I can tell you is that President Trump is dialed into races at a granular level. He’s following the fundraising, the polling, and the messaging. He is as tuned in as I’ve ever seen him and I think that’s a good thing for the politics of the right that’s right.
A reporter at the time asked Gaetz “Do you want ex-President Trump to be the speaker?”
“I would,” Gaetz answered.