“Put your money where your mouth is.” Or if you prefer a slightly more concise Biblical version, it’s found in Matthew 6:21, which reads, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
It’s something everyone’s heard at one time or another, in church or perhaps on the school playground. The innate human need to self-promote is stronger in some people than others, yet there comes a time in any contested conversation and boastful claim that your counterpart will demand that you pony-up or back down. Put another way, you might hear, “Fish or cut bait.”
Such is the case for the persistent rumors that former President Donald Trump is pondering a bid to become Speaker of the House after the 2022 midterm elections. Both political sides are using the possibility (no matter how remote) that the previous White House occupant and lightning rod of controversy might become the constitutional third-in-line in less than two years’ time to raise money for their upcoming campaigns.
The mere mention of Trump’s name draws notice. Add in Nancy Pelosi’s and you create a veritable fire storm of emotion. It could get really interesting, folks.
Or maybe not. Emily Brooks reported at The Washington Examiner:
“The unlikely possibility of former President Donald Trump becoming speaker of the House is fueling fundraising pitches on both sides of the aisle. Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee based fundraising pitches off the firebrand Florida congressman’s plans to vote for Trump for speaker in 2023...
“Doubt about the veracity of Trump’s speakership ambitions isn’t stopping Democrats from using the prospect as a fear-based fundraising tactic. The DCCC sent out an email Thursday that read ‘SPEAKER DONALD TRUMP ALERT,’ noting Gaetz’s pledge...
“Trump said in a June Fox Business interview that it is ‘highly unlikely’ he would run for a House or Senate seat in 2022, but said in an interview with another commentator that the idea of replacing Pelosi as Speaker is ‘interesting.’ The speaker of the House is not required to be an elected House member, but every speaker thus far has been an elected member.”
The key term in the final sentence is thus far. Donald Trump cares a lot about American traditions but it’s safe to say he’s never paid much mind to those of the political establishment. Up until six years ago, there had never been an outsider bold enough to challenge for a major party’s presidential nomination and actually carry it out to the end -- and then win it. Trump was the first such novice to then beat a card-carrying member of the elite class in a national election.
Liberals and Democrats and the media and the so-called “conservative” GOP opposition couldn’t accept the embarrassing defeat, launching assault after assault on boat-rocker Trump’s MAGA onslaught. They finally found their proverbial silver bullet with COVID-19 hype and a national capitulation to mail-in voting. They’ll write books about it someday.
The fact is, firsts are Donald Trump’s thing. The man built his own world-renowned business brand, fostered his own celebrity and orchestrated a political movement that’s captured the loyalty -- and votes -- of well over seventy million Americans. So, agreeing to stoop to being Speaker of the House of Representatives might even be considered a step down for the New Yorker. But the notion is nonetheless intriguing.
There are lots of reasons why Trump should give the office a thorough once-over in his mind. First, a Trump speakership could be a game-changer for America. The House of Representatives controls the purse strings of the government. Therefore, if the Speaker doesn’t want Program X or Department Y to receive money to push Critical Race Theory or pay for transgender surgeries in the military, all he would need to do is cross it out of an appropriations bill and command his minions to pass it, and voilà, no funding.
The Speaker isn’t a dictator, but he or she enjoys outsized influence on whatever actually becomes law in the process. This includes a healthy share of say over what goes into the reconciliation negotiations with the Senate. If you think “Chucky” Schumer moans and cries a lot now, just wait until he goes up against Trump in a meeting of the minds over budgeting and the social agenda in the next Congress!
There won’t be any H.R. 1 in the next go-round if Trump controls the gavel. And the conservative platform will have its most effective spokesman since Ronald Reagan to do the talking. What better way to highlight the bloat and waste in government than have someone like Trump addressing it every day? The media would do its best to keep the news from getting out, but eventually, the people would learn the truth.
And investigations? From day one of his presidency, Democrats craved using Congress’s formidable investigatory authority to go after Trump (of course, they weren’t in the majority until 2019). What if the shoe were on the other foot? Every crooked schlep in the deep state would be shaking in his or her loafers and heels at the prospect of having Trump with subpoena power. It would be fun to watch! Must see TV, even on CSPAN!
Second, becoming Speaker of the House would allow Trump to shake up the political system in more dramatic ways than even winning the presidency did in 2016. As everyone knows, the Speaker’s position is the most powerful in Washington in terms of determining the nation’s legislative agenda. Today, nothing gets past Nancy Pelosi that she doesn’t want to squeak through, including committee assignments, bill introductions, setting the calendar, etc.
Imagine if Donald Trump were making these types of decisions in San Fran Nan’s place. He could prioritize the lead items on the Make America Great Again agenda and then use the Speaker’s megaphone to push and push and push to pass the items one by one. This is the Republican Party that we’re talking about, so there will always be eccentrics, but Trump has never shrunk from a challenge and isn’t afraid to name names in public.
Impossible, you say? Hardly! Nancy Pelosi’s political skills are impressive, yet hers seemingly pale in comparison to those of her legendary nemesis. If Pelosi can manage to pass her wish list while herding her unruly breed of socialist cats, so could Trump with his band of principled conservatives and token set of holdouts like Liz Cheney and the nine other RINOs who voted to impeach him a second time last January.
As speaker, Trump could make it very uncomfortable for his politics playing underlings, the ones who, instead of carrying through with the actions they promised on the campaign trail, morph into fork-tongued creatures once they invade the swamp. Do you think Trump would hesitate to pull committee assignments for the malcontents? Heck no! Trump would have them washing dishes in the members’ dining room kitchen if they made the caucus look like the jackass party.
Three, becoming Speaker would be a huge thorn in the side of the Republican establishment and the #NeverTrumpers because the Speaker enjoys enormous political fundraising and command over the distribution of campaign resources. If the Republican caucus were to name Trump speaker from the outside, he wouldn’t even have to use money to hold a congressional seat (not that most Speakers concern themselves with their own safer than safe campaigns).
Trump could raise money at unprecedented levels and reward those who worked hard and stood up for Americans and moved legislation that preserved free speech, religious freedom, Second Amendment rights, supported law and order, etc. The Republican caucus would experience a sense of purpose rather than simply worrying about the next election cycle and trying to get reelected. The establishment would shrivel up like a grape on hot pavement. Raisins everywhere!
Lastly, Trump as Speaker would finally give the party leadership some backbone. Time after time since Newt Gingrich left the chair, Republican speakers and leaders shrunk from the opportunity to tackle major issues that faced the country in our times. The national debt has grown to gargantuan size and there was nothing to stop it. Spending grew as fast under GOP stewardship as it did during the Democrats’ tenure.
Speakers such as Dennis Hastert, John Boehner and Paul Ryan constantly bowed to Democrat demands and grandstanding, frustrating conservatives and Republicans who’d contributed to the party, stuffed the envelopes, manned the phone banks and walked the precincts to get GOP candidates elected. They’re a big part of the reason why Congress’s approval ratings were -- and still are -- so low.
Donald Trump could break the trend.
The chances are slim that Donald Trump will ever become Speaker of the House, but that shouldn’t stop good people from exploring the idea and even advocating for it. With a rising “bench” of promising prospects in line to run for the GOP nomination in 2024, the former president could set a new precedent by moving up to capitol hill. Wouldn’t it be poetic justice?
Donald Trump for Speaker
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Republican congressional leaders
Speaker of the House