Ben Carson, who’s seen a tumble in polls for president in the GOP primary race in recent weeks, admitted he was recruited by fellow Republicans to run for the House speaker slot abandoned by John Boehner back in 2014, but turned down the opportunity.
That position was ultimately filled by Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan, a representative who did little to abate the concerns of tea party-type Republicans who thought the GOP was moving too far to the left. And shortly after Ryan took the gavel, he did raise outrage with his rubber-stamp of the White House-pressed $1.1 trillion budget among those in the conservative camps who wanted him to use the power of the House purse strings to fight off several perceived unpalatable policies and programs, like funding of Planned Parenthood.
Apparently, some conservatives had another pick they preferred.
Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon said in New York Magazine he was one of three congressmen who pitched the idea to Carson.
But Carson’s response: “It would have been very difficult to do my job as speaker of the House while running for president. You’ve seen how difficult a time Senator Rubio is having fulfilling his senatorial obligations. The speaker of the House has even more obligations.”
The Hill reported Carson at least met with “several” of the interested lawmakers on Capitol Hill in a closed-door meeting that’s only now becoming public.
There is no requirement the speaker of the House be a member of Congress.