Trump has ‘zero desire’ to be speaker of House, spokesman says

<span>Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Reuters
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Donald Trump has “zero desire” to be speaker of the House of Representatives, a spokesman said, after the former president discussed the outlandish idea.

Related: New York Times defends Maggie Haberman from Fox News attack

Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, is the current House speaker. Republicans under the minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, hope to retake the chamber next year.

Trump was ejected from the White House in January. He retains control of the Republican party and has publicly mulled another run for the presidency in 2024.

Under congressional rules, the House speaker does not have to be a sitting member of Congress, though all of them so far have been.

Nonetheless, chatter about the most unlikely of political comebacks has spread among Trump supporters since it was raised by his former adviser Steve Bannon and since Trump himself called it “so interesting” last week.

On Friday, McCarthy inadvertently encouraged such chatter when he told Fox News: “You know, I’ve talked to President Trump many times, he tells me he wants to be speaker, and I think he should be president.”

A spokesperson later said the California representative had meant to say Trump thought McCarthy should be speaker.

On Monday, the former president was asked about the idea in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. Characteristically, he failed to fully deny it.

“Well,” Trump said, “I’ve heard the talk and it’s getting more and more. But it’s not something that I would have considered but … certainly there’s a lot of talk about it.

“I have a good relationship with Kevin, and hopefully we will do everything traditionally.”

Trump pivoted to his oft repeated lie that his defeat by Joe Biden was the result of electoral fraud, then said of the notion he could be speaker: “So I have seen talk about that but it’s nothing that I’ve ever considered.”

On Tuesday, Punchbowl News poured cold water on the story.

“No,” it said, “you don’t have to be a member of Congress to be speaker. No, it’s not going to happen. It would be impossibly hard for Trump to become speaker, although it is theoretically possible.”

Nonetheless, Punchbowl said, it had asked Jason Miller, Trump’s outgoing spokesman, if Trump wanted to be speaker.

Trump, Miller said, “has zero desire to be speaker”.