05 October 2023

Donald Trump ‘may visit Capitol to address Republicans’ as they pick new speaker

05 October 2023

Donald Trump is in talks to visit Capitol Hill next week as Republicans debate who should be the next speaker of the House of Representatives after the removal of Kevin McCarthy, according to sources.

Some on the far right have floated the idea of Mr Trump as a speaker candidate — perhaps on an interim basis – but one source said that if the former president goes ahead with the visit, he would be there to talk with Republican legislators and not to pitch himself for the role.

He would most likely attend a closed-door candidate forum that Republicans plan to hold on Tuesday evening, ahead of a vote which could happen as soon as Wednesday.

Mr Trump is being encouraged to run by a small group of far-right allies including Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Mr McCarthy lost his position this week when eight Republicans supported a motion introduced by Florida representative Matt Gaetz to remove him from the speakership.

Mr Gaetz and Ms Greene are both Trump allies, although Ms Greene voted against the motion to remove McCarthy.

The trip would be his first to the Capitol since leaving office and since his supporters violently stormed the building in a bid to halt the peaceful transition of power from him to Democrat Joe Biden on January 6 2021.

He has been indicted in Washington and Georgia over his efforts to overturn the election result.

A person does not have to be a member of the House to serve as speaker, though that has historically been the case. From time to time legislators have picked people from outside Congress, often as a protest of sorts against the candidates.

Until a new speaker is chosen, all legislative work is the House is suspended.

Mr Trump, the early front-runner for the Republican 2024 presidential nomination, has said he is fully focused on his presidential run, but has flirted with the idea of running for speaker for years.

Speaking on Wednesday during a court appearance in New York, he said “a lot of people” had been calling him about the job, but insisted he was focused “totally” on his campaign to return to the White House.

But he added: “If I can help them during the process, I would do it. But we have some great people in the Republican Party that could do a great job as speaker.”

In a social media post early on Thursday, he added that he “will do whatever is necessary to help with the Speaker of the House selection process, short term, until the final selection of a GREAT REPUBLICAN SPEAKER is made – A Speaker who will help a new, but highly experienced President, ME, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

The possibility of Mr Trump visiting Republicans as they battle among themselves for a path forward caught many on Capitol Hill by surprise.

The former president’s involvement is sure to further complicate already complex manoeuvring for the two leading candidates, Steve Scalise Jim Jordan, to win the 218 votes required to win the job.

Both men are likely to face a steep hill to the dais as they try to win the support of far-right and moderate factions of the party.

Immediately after news of Mr Trump’s potential visit began to trickle out, Ms Greene posted another endorsement of him for the job on social media, writing: “If Trump becomes Speaker of the House, the House chamber will be like a Trump rally everyday!!”

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