Back in 2014 when they were still unsuccessfully scheming to oust House Speaker John Boehner, conservatives engaged in some out-of-the-box thinking — and came up with something that sounds like it belongs in the Onion. Ben Carson tells the Hill that before he launched his presidential campaign, several conservatives in the House tried to talk him into running for speaker. According to the humble former neurosurgeon, they were searching for “someone strong and courageous” to replace Boehner. When he abruptly resigned from Congress last October, Republicans eventually decided to go with Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan, a more qualified and less-sleepy speaker.
Although every Speaker of the House so far has been a member of the House, the Constitution actually doesn’t require this; in theory, there is no rule preventing an outsider such as Carson from holding the position.
While this sounds like something we should throw in the same file as Carson’s failed attempt to stab a loved one and his wife’s frantic hunt for office supplies mere seconds after giving birth, other sources confirmed it’s true. Arizona Republican representative Matt Salmon identified himself as one of a group of three congressmen who delivered the pitch.
Carson said he turned down the offer because assuming the speakership would have cut into the valuable time he was planning to spend pretending to run for president.
“It would have been very difficult to do my job as the speaker of the House while running for president,” he said. “You’ve seen how difficult a time Senator Rubio is having fulfilling his senatorial obligations. The speaker of the House has even more obligations.”