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Rep. Matt Gaetz votes for Donald Trump over Kevin McCarthy as speaker

In spite of his relatively lax campaign schedule so far, former President Donald Trump is very much an officially declared candidate for the upcoming 2024 elections. It may surprise him, however, to learn that he's also a candidate to become the next speaker of the House, as Republicans continue to flail about in the hopes of getting their razor-thin congressional majority off the ground.

As the House convened on Thursday for former Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-Cali) seventh attempt to convince 20 or so of his fellow Republicans to put him over the 218-vote threshold for becoming speaker, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), one of McCarthy's staunchest opponents, offered the former president — and McCarthy backer — as a potential alternative. 

Gaetz's vote for Trump marked the only change from the lockstep uniformity deployed by the anti-McCarthy bloc during previous votes. The other 19 members of the defecting faction call cast their votes for incoming Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) with one other — Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz — simply voting "present." 

Gaetz, long one of the former president's most enthusiastic congressional supporters, did not explain why he switched his choice from Donalds to Trump in this latest ballot, nor did he forecast whether he would continue to do so in subsequent votes.