Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) warned that Republicans might make Donald Trump Speaker of the House if they take back the majority in next year's election, and it might be time to take that threat seriously.
The idea is becoming increasingly popular in the MAGA universe, and the twice-impeached one-term president has discussed the possibility with Gaetz and other right-wing lawmakers, and New Republic columnist Matt Ford theorized some of the alarming possibilities of putting Trump in control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
"One reason for concern is that Trump would wield tremendous power over the legislative process," Ford wrote. "His presidency suggests that he might not be inclined to use that power in the public interest. For the last fifty years, lawmakers from both parties have centralized legislative power within the speaker’s office. As a result, Trump would effectively decide whether bills that keep the government open or raise the debt ceiling reach the House floor. He forced a government shutdown during his own term and called on GOP lawmakers to not lift the debt ceiling earlier this year. It’s not hard to imagine Trump instigating for a prolonged shutdown or even a national default if he thinks it will help him and hurt [President Joe] Biden."
The most urgent concern, however, is the speaker currently has the power to effectively decide the outcome of the 2024 presidential election, in which Trump is widely expected to be a candidate.
"Consider how this process might play out after the 2024 election if Biden defeats Trump to win re-election," Ford wrote. "What if Speaker Trump, claiming once again that the election was stolen from him, simply refuses to convene that session? There is no other mechanism to count the Electoral College votes, and without a count, the rest of the process breaks down."
"The current terms of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would expire at noon on January 20, 2025," he concluded. "Under the Twentieth Amendment, control of the executive branch would then pass to the acting president for as long as the House refuses to count the electoral votes or until the next election is held in 2028. And under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, the acting president in this scenario would be Speaker Donald Trump."