Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy reminded everyone on Wednesday that the Speaker of the House does not need to actually be a sitting congressman, reminding people that he has already said he would not be seeking re-election, reports The Daily Caller.
The Constitution dictates “the House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers,” but it does not stipulate that you have to be a sitting member of Congress to run for the leadership position. Gowdy conveniently pointed that out at the end of his statement on Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision not to seek re-election at the end of his term.
After calling Ryan the “smartest kid in the class” and wishing him his wife and their three children “all the best,” the South Carolina Republican addressed “those within Congress who always seemed to have a better idea or a smarter strategy, now is your chance to run for Speaker.”
“To those outside of Congress who always seemed to have a better idea or a smarter strategy,” he added. “You do not have to be a member of the House to be Speaker of the House and hence, now is your chance to run for Speaker.”
It is not clear if Gowdy was talking about himself as well in this situation since he has also said he will not run again at the conclusion of this term.
When asked for comment on the possibility he becomes the first non-sitting member to become the Speaker of the House in U.S. history, a spokeswoman for his office responded simply “not a chance.”
But of course, everyone denies wanting political office before they actually announce.
Right now, the two most likely candidates for the Speaker’s spot are House Majority Whip Steve Scalise or Sen. Kevin McCarthy.