But in a recent Fox News interview, McCarthy appeared to admit that former President Donald Trump wants to take over that position, thus becoming second in line for the presidency. The Constitution doesn't mandate that the House Speaker be a member of Congress, though Trump would be the first unelected official in the position.
When asked by Fox News' Brian Kilmeade about the possibility, McCarthy's answer was evasive.
The House GOP leader said:
"I've talked to President Trump many times. He tells me he wants to be Speaker and I think he should be President."
McCarthy's team later told Mediaite he meant to say Trump "wants me to be Speaker," but Trump has expressed interest in the idea before. With Florida gaining a Congressional seat, some—like right-wing media personality Wayne Allyn Root—have suggested Trump run for a House seat in Florida, and—upon victory—become Speaker to immediately impeach President Joe Biden.
Trump has called the idea "interesting" and said it might be "easier" than running for Senate, but it's unclear at this point if Trump will even run for President.
McCarthy's response made waves across social media.
Some said a Trump effort for Speaker would be a gift for Democrats hoping to preserve their narrow majority in the House past 2022.
Given the GOP's fealty to Trump, it's hard to imagine a scenario where Republican representatives unite against him as Speaker if he publicly claims he wants the job.