OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
As House Republicans prepare to hold another vote for Speaker on Monday, several lawmakers have thrown their hat into the ring for consideration.
One of them is House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, a Minnesota Republican who is seen by many as a product of the political establishment in D.C. that turns off the vast majority of GOP voters. And that is exactly why former President Donald Trump is not supporting him.
“Trump privately conveyed to allies on Friday he does not back” Emmer, “throwing another wrench into an already chaotic process to find the next person to hold the gavel,” Politico reported.
The former president’s remarks come as Emmer had begun to privately contact House Republicans to gauge their responses to a potential Speaker bid. He “has emerged as an early frontrunner, having received the endorsement of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy,” Politico added.
“But a sustained offensive from Trump, if one materializes, could spell doom, as any candidate for the job can only afford to lose a handful of votes,” the outlet reported.
Boris Epshteyn, a top Trump adviser, said on a podcast Friday, per Politico: “If somebody is so out of step with where the Republican electorate is, where the MAGA movement is, how can they even be in the conversation?”
“We need a MAGA speaker. That’s what it comes down to. Because if you look at the numbers, if you look at the energy, if you look at the heat, this is the Trump party, this is the MAGA party. It is no longer the old-school khaki establishment Republican Party,” he said.
Another candidate who fits that description — and is a huge Trump ally is Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.). He has also announced he is running for the position. Should he emerge victorious, he would become the House’s first black Speaker.
“I am running to become the next Speaker of the House,” Donalds noted on the X platform on Saturday. He laid out his priorities: Securing U.S. borders, funding government “responsibly,” advancing a conservative agenda, and expanding “our Republican majority.”
I am running to become the next Speaker of the House.
We need to:
🇺🇸 Secure our border
🇺🇸 Fund our government responsibly
🇺🇸 Advance our conservative agenda
🇺🇸 Expand our Republican majority
Let’s get to work! pic.twitter.com/a7jmeDYzvV
— Byron Donalds (@ByronDonalds) October 21, 2023
“He had received votes for the Speakership from GOP defectors both during McCarthy’s 15-ballot Speaker race in January and during Jordan’s three ballots this week,” The Hill noted.
In January, during the chaotic 15-round Speaker vote that finally resulted in a victory for Kevin McCarthy of California, Rep. Matt Gaetz — who led a handful of GOP malcontents earlier this month to vacate McCarthy’s chair — cast a ballot for Donalds to take the gavel.
Others, including retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) are also making a bid.
“The regular functioning of the federal government can’t wait on useless infighting and arguments,” Bergman said in a statement, per The Hill. “What matters right now is choosing a Speaker in order to make sure that our government—and particularly our military—is funded, and that both our homeland and our critical allies are secure in this time of crisis.”
“What we need right now is a Speaker who has experience leading and can put ego aside to work together for the American people. We need a leader who shuns permanent power and recognizes the current crisis of leadership. I’m ready to serve. Together we can end the deadlock, and win the vote,” Bergman said.
The Hill added some additional details regarding Emmer:
Emmer is making calls for a run for Speaker, a source familiar tells The Hill — and is seeking the position.
He will likely emerge as a frontrunner once his hat is officially in the ring.
The majority whip — who previously served as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) — would be the highest-ranking lawmaker to jockey for the position. He has endured leadership races in the past, a fact that could help him prevail this time around.