Republican members of Congress upset with former Speaker John Boehner’s leadership were recruiting someone from outside the House to take over in 2014, according to an exclusive story in The Hill released Thursday.
That someone was presidential candidate Ben Carson.
“They were looking for an alternative, they were looking for someone strong and courageous who might really be able to add some spine and some backbone,” Carson said. “I was very flattered that there were several members that thought I’d fit the bill very well, but I think it played out correctly the way that it did.”
There has never been a Speaker of the House who was not a congressman, but the Constitution does not say that the speaker has to be.
According to the article by Jonathan Easley, a second source with knowledge of the situation said that in 2014 “several” House conservatives summoned Carson to Capitol Hill to pitch him on the idea of becoming the next Speaker.
Boehner stepped down as Speaker in the fall of 2015. Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee was chosen as speaker.
Carson met with the Republicans, but said he turned down their offer because he was gearing up for a presidential run.
Carson told The Hill he decided against going for the speakership because he wanted to run for president.
Carson declined to identify the House Republicans who approached him, but Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) told The Hill on Thursday that he was one of a group of three who did so.