“After the next election cycle when we take back the House of Representatives, when we send [current Speaker] Nancy Pelosi back to the filth of San Francisco, my commitment to you is that my vote for Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives will go to Donald J. Trump,” the Republican congressman said to a crowd gathered for Trump's rally in Sarasota, Florida, on Saturday.
The “Save America” rally marks the second Trump campaign-style event held since the former president left the White House in January. Billed as a celebration of Independence Day, the July 3 rally has drawn thousands to Sarasota Fairgrounds. Trump is scheduled to speak at 8 p.m. ET.
Gaetz also addressed a deepening scandal over allegations that he paid a minor for sex.
“They always come out to the fighters,” he said. “I'm a canceled man in some corners of the internet, but in the core of my bones I'm a Florida man and it feels good to be home.”
The Constitution—which states that “the House of Representatives shall chuse (sic) their Speaker and other Officers”—does not expressly state that the House Speaker must be a member of the chamber. However, many legal experts who have examined the issue believe that the founders intended for the Speaker to be chosen from a pool of elected representatives.
“It would have been unthinkable for the most populous house not to have its leader be part of the representatives who were elected by the people,” said David Forte, a constitutional scholar at Cleveland State University, according to NBC News.
In 2015, the Clerk of the House said the Speaker “has always been (but is not required to be) a House Member.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will not attend the rally due to the ongoing search for survivors after the collapse of a 12-story condominium building in the town of Surfside on June 24. Trump reportedly advised the Republican governor to prioritize the rescue effort over his event.
DeSantis' press secretary, Christina Pushaw, confirmed that the governor will not be attending the rally in a statement.
“We can confirm that the Governor will not attend the rally in Sarasota. He spoke with President Trump, who agreed that this was the right decision, as the Governor's duty is to be in Surfside making sure the families and community have what they need in the aftermath of the tragic building collapse,” she said.
Pushaw added: “Governor DeSantis would have gone to this event in normal circumstances. He is sure the rally will draw a big crowd on this holiday weekend, as many Floridians are excited to attend.”
Newsweek reached out to Pelosi's office for comment. This story will be updated with any response.
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