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Editor's note: Nehls on Thursday evening said on social media that he spoke with former President Donald Trump about the speakership and learned he was supporting Rep. Jim Jordan. Nehls said he too would now support Jordan.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Richmond, is recruiting his peers to support the exceedingly improbable push to make former President Donald Trump the next speaker of the House.
“I nominate Donald J. Trump for Speaker of the House,” U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls declared on social media shortly after Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the job.
Nehls said this week he has since reached out to a host of other Republicans, including Rep. Ronny Jackson of Amarillo, and said some of them would be open to making the case for Trump as the House votes on its next speaker Wednesday. Jackson, a staunch Trump supporter, used to be the president’s White House physician. Jackson’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Jackson tweeted on Thursday afternoon he was throwing his support behind Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
No one who is not a member of Congress has ever served as speaker, and the idea faces near impossible political odds. But Trump has shown some signs of humoring the idea. He is considering visiting the Capitol before the speaker election, Politico reported, and posted a picture of himself with the speaker’s gavel on social media.
Trump is also the Republican forerunner for the 2024 presidential election and has said that he’s keeping his attention on that race. Speaking with reporters Wednesday outside a New York courthouse where he is the defendant in a civil suit, Trump said he’ll “do whatever’s best for the country and the Republican Party” but “we have some great people” already running for speaker.
“I’ll do whatever it is to help, but my focus, my total focus, is being president,” Trump continued.
The odds against Trump are enormous. He is mired in a web of legal challenges, including four criminal indictments related to hush money payments to cover up an alleged affair, retaining of classified documents after being instructed to return them and his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
There are few people whom House Democrats despise more than Trump, and the speaker is chosen by a simple majority in the whole House. Trump would need practically the entire Republican conference to back him, and there are some popular Republicans already in the race. Democrats voted as a bloc to remove McCarthy and are unlikely to support another Republican candidate. They repeatedly voted unanimously for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to be speaker in January.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Jordan have both thrown their names into the ring to become speaker. Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern has also expressed interest and made a pitch during a Texas Republican delegation lunch Wednesday.
Scalise already has several vocal backers, including Reps. Tony Gonzales of San Antonio and Jake Ellzey of Waxahachie.
The choice appears to be from that pool for most rank and file Republicans. Several Texas members said they were impressed with Scalise, Jordan and Hern and would be happy to support whoever among them would be able to rally the support of the entire conference.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, a close Trump ally, has also been calling for the former president to become speaker.
Disclosure: Politico has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.