With the House Republican caucus in disarray over whom to nominate as the next House speaker, former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) invoked George Washington in saying he would come to his country’s aid in its hour of need.
“If you were to say to me 218 have called you up and given you their pledge, obviously no citizen could ever turn down that kind of challenge,” Gingrich told conservative radio host Sean Hannity Thursday, as reported by the Washington Examiner. “This is why George Washington came out of retirement — because there are moments you can’t avoid.”
Since Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) dropped out of the race to replace Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), there’s been little consensus as to who will be able to win the support of both the establishment members and the hardline conservative caucus, whose resistance to McCarthy pushed him out of the running. Legally, it’s worth noting, it is not required that a speaker be a current House member.
Gingrich appeared on Hannity’s show shortly after news broke that McCarthy was withdrawing his bid, prompting Hannity to ask Gingrich whether he would consider serving as interim speaker if nominated. At first the former speaker laughed off the idea, according to the Washington Examiner’s report, but when further pressed seemed more open.
“You show up with 218 votes, I’ll talk to you,” Gingrich said. “I ain’t talking to you if you don’t get 218 votes.”
Later Thursday evening, it appeared at least some House members were open to the idea:
A house GOPer just told me there is a group of members actually trying to draft @newtgingrich for Speaker.
— Molly Ball (@mollyesque) October 8, 2015