On the seventh and eighth ballots, Matt Gaetz cast a vote for Donald Trump.

What would have happened if Donald Trump (or any other person) had won a majority and had wanted to take that function?

In an answer to another question, I found the following:

In theory, the House "sets its own rules". If it decides that Kim Kardashian is to be made speaker, whether she likes it or not, then Kim is speaker (whether she likes it or not).

But as the speaker is (AFAICS) a member of the House, wouldn't that mean that Congress would have to increase the number of seats? And could Congress do so, because the House cannot do much without a speaker?

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    What would happen is exactly the same as in the Senate, where the President (VPOTUS) is not a voting member. And the Speaker would not have a constitutionally-provided tie-breaking vote. Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 9:46

2 Answers 2


This has never happened, and probably never will.

If it does happen, what would mean is that the non-member Speaker would be a non-voting member of the House of Representatives. In a sense, there's already a precedent for this as there are five non-voting delegates and one non-voting resident commissioner in the House that represent American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. The non-voting person who represents Puerto Rico is titled as a resident commissioner. The others are titled as delegates.

The non-voting Speaker would have the thankless job of herding the 435 voting members, who are much harder to herd than cats. The non-voting Speaker would however have considerably more influence than do the six non-voting delegates.

  • "The thankless job of herding the 435 voting members" undercuts a fairly important job - they have quite a lot of power in deciding the direction for the House of Representatives, and are important enough to be second in succession line for President of the United States.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 14:00
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    @Zibbobz I wasn't undercutting at all. Speakers obviously take on the role because of the enhanced power and prestige. However, it is a whole lot of extra work, stress, and responsibility for a small increase in pay. That's what I meant by "thankless". Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 14:06
  • Where are you getting the "non-voting member" part? Would the speaker not still get a deciding vote? Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 18:31
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    @ScottishTapWater The rule about the Vice President having the ability to split a tie vote in the Senate is in the Constitution. There is nothing corresponding in the Constitution regarding similar abilities for a non-member Speaker. That there are 435 voting members is fixed by law, the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929. The allocation of those 435 voting Representatives to the states is determined every ten years by the census; this also is in the Constitution. Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 18:43

If Donald Trump is elected Speaker of the House, he would become the Speaker until he chooses to resign or the House replaces him with another candidate.

If a non-member is elected Speaker, they would not have the right to vote on the House floor. The past Speakers can vote on the House floor only by virtue of concurrently being a member of the House.

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    If Trump were Speaker of the House, he would become Acting President if both the President and Vice President were to die (or be assasinated). Fortunately, we live in a country where overturning an election by violence is simply unthinkable.
    – AndyB
    Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 7:49

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