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Can Donald Trump become Speaker of the House of Representatives?

The law allows for anybody to be speaker of the house, not necessarily an elected representative.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump greets people as he arrives for a New Years event at his Mar-a-Lago home on December 31, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump continues to run for a second term as the President of the United States. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The melodrama that is the election of the Speaker of the House for the 118th Congress took a bit of a turn today, as Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida cast his first vote of the day (and the seventh overall for the position) for former President Donald Trump.

While there is no precedent for a non-member of the House to be the Speaker, there is no rule saying the presiding officer of the lower house of Congress needs to be an elected member. So although it has never happened, it doesn’t mean it won’t. And with the craziness on Capitol Hill the last several days, anything is possible.

While its highly unlikely the former President and now-candidate for the White House in 2024 would ever get the job, someone that’s not a member of the body could conceivably be the person the Republican party rallies around to take the job.

The Speaker has never been a non-elected member of Congress, but some non-members have received votes in the past. In 1997, two retired GOP members each received a vote and in 2013 and 2015, former Secretary of State Colin Powell received votes.