donald trump our journey together
CNN  — 

On Monday, Republican candidate Vernon Jones switched from the Georgia governor’s race to a US House contest at the behest of former President Donald Trump. Two days later, Jones endorsed Trump for speaker of the House.

“On Day One in Congress, I’ll file Articles of Impeachment against both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for betrayal of public trust,” tweeted Jones. “Then I’ll cast my vote for President Trump to be Speaker and invite my colleagues to join me. It’s time to throw out the old playbook.”

Which, well, interesting, right? Especially when you consider that Jones traveled to Mar-a-Lago last month for a meeting in which Trump offered to endorse Jones for Congress if he dropped out of the governor’s race. (Trump has endorsed former Sen. David Perdue, who is challenging Gov. Brian Kemp in the Republican primary.)

One has to wonder whether Jones told Trump about his plan to endorse the former President for House speaker.

It’s far from the first time that Trump allies have floated the idea. Consider:

* Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said in December that he not only wants Trump to be speaker if Republicans take the House majority this fall, but also has spoken to the former President about the idea.

* Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said in November that he “would love to see the gavel go from (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi to Donald Trump. You talk about melting down – people would go crazy.”

* Conservative radio talk show host Wayne Allyn Root had this exchange with Trump in June 2021:

Root: “Why not, instead of just waiting for 2024, and I’m hoping you run in 2024, but why not run in 2022 for the United States Congress, a House seat in Florida, win big, lead us to a dramatic landslide victory, taking the House by 50 seats, and then you become the speaker of the House?”

Trump: “You know, it’s very interesting. That’s so interesting. And people have said, run for the Senate, OK, run for the Senate, but you know what? Your idea might be better. It’s very interesting.”

Could this happen? Technically yes. There’s not even a requirement that the speaker be a member of Congress, just that they receive the majority of votes from members for the job.

Will this happen? Almost certainly not. Why? Well a) the House has never selected a speaker who wasn’t a sitting member of Congress and b) Trump appears to be far more focused on running for president in 2024 than serving as speaker.

But the very fact that the Trump for speaker push continues – despite its extremely long odds of happening – is revealing. And what it reveals is that among the most Trump-y wing of the party in Congress – of which Gaetz is a member and Jones would be if he wins – there is skepticism about the idea of elevating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to speaker if Republicans win the majority.

“We know that Kevin McCarthy has a problem in our conference,” said Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene late last year. ‘He doesn’t have the full support to be speaker.”

Trump is the best understood as a sort of stalking horse for the discontent among his closest allies in Congress – and those, like Jones, who want to come to Congress. They likely know he won’t run for speaker, but they want McCarthy to know they aren’t happy with him and want to find ways to extract promises from him to alleviate their concerns.

In short: Trump isn’t going to be speaker of the House in January 2023. But Kevin McCarthy may not be either.