Trump endorses Jim Jordan for House speaker after Kevin McCarthy ouster

Former president Donald Trump is throwing his support behind Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to become House speaker after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was ousted in a rebellion by far-right Republicans.

In an early-morning post Friday on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump said Jordan had his “complete” and “total” endorsement. “He will be a GREAT Speaker of the House,” Trump posted. ” … He is STRONG on Crime, Borders, our Military/Vets, & 2nd Amendment.”

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Kevin McCarthy ousted as speaker
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was ousted from the speakership Tuesday, marking the first such removal in congressional history. He will be replaced by Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.) until a permanent leader is chosen.
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Jordan, chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, has been a vocal Trump supporter. He became the first person this week to publicly share his plans to run for speaker, giving reporters an emphatic “yes” when asked Wednesday whether he would seek to lead the chamber. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the House majority leader and another Trump supporter, also announced that he would run for speaker.

House Republicans are searching for a replacement to the first speaker voted out in U.S. history as McCarthy said he would not seek it again.

Becoming speaker — a position second in line to the presidency — requires a majority vote in the full House, and support from both the far-right and moderate factions of the fractured GOP, assuming no Democrats come on board.

Apart from Jordan and Scalise, Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), who leads a large faction of conservatives as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, has said some Republicans have asked him to consider running for speaker and that he is weighing it. Several other Republicans have also not ruled out bids when the House returns next week.

Jordan, Scalise and Hern were scheduled to appear Monday night on anchor Bret Baier’s program on Fox News for what the network was advertising as a discussion among the speaker hopefuls. But the event was called off, Baier announced Friday afternoon.

House Republicans plan to hear from the candidates on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. In addition, announced speakership candidates were invited to an in-person candidate forum early next week hosted by the Republican Governance Group, a coalition of moderate House Republicans. According to an email sent to group members that was obtained by The Washington Post, each candidate participating in the forum will be given 10 minutes to pitch members and 15 minutes for questions.

Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat in the House, said in an opinion essay for The Washington Post on Friday that a bipartisan coalition would be the most productive path forward for the embattled chamber. It was a proposal put forth in the lead-up to McCarthy’s ouster and one he continues to promote.

“The rules of the House should reflect the inescapable reality that Republicans are reliant on Democratic support to do the basic work of governing,” Jeffries wrote. “A small band of extremists should not be capable of obstructing that cooperation.”

“The need to change course is urgent,” the House minority leader added.

But with two allies of Trump officially running for speaker, bipartisanship to end the tumult in the House remains a hope more than a reality.

Trump has talked to House members about Jordan but is not expected to come to the Capitol or whip votes next week, according to an adviser familiar with his calls who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Trump has talked to Jordan since leaving office “probably more than any other member,” the Trump adviser said, adding that Trump personally likes Jordan in a way that he doesn’t like Scalise and has watched as Jordan has defended him over the years.

“Jordan hasn’t had one of those moments where he’s gotten crosswise with the president,” the adviser said.

Some House Republicans also have been calling on the former president to seek the speaker post himself. Among them: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a former McCarthy ally. She said on social media earlier this week that Trump is “the only candidate for Speaker I am currently supporting.”

Trump told Fox News Digital in an interview Thursday that he would be open to accepting an interim role as speaker, but he said his focus is on the White House race.

“I will do it if necessary, should they not be able to make their decision,” Trump said.

The Trump adviser said Trump was never seriously interested in trying to become temporary speaker, even though some members pitched him on the concept.

House speakers are not required to be members of the chamber. But installing Trump, even temporarily, faces a hurdle: Under House Republican rules, “a member of the Republican Leadership shall step aside if indicted for a felony for which a sentence of two or more years imprisonment may be imposed.”

Trump currently faces 91 felony charges across four criminal cases in federal and state courts. Some of the most serious charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Some Trump allies in the House have suggested that they could change the rules to allow Trump to serve.

Jordan, who was elected to Congress in 2006, has steadily risen in the ranks of the Republican conference. He has used his perch as Judiciary Committee chairman, which he has held since January, to fight those who are investigating Trump.

He was one of eight House lawmakers who were part of Trump’s defense team in his first Senate impeachment trial. Trump, in one of his last acts as president, gave Jordan the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

A former chairman of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, Jordan was first nominated for the speakership in January by far-right Republicans who opposed McCarthy, but Jordan steadfastly maintained his support for him.

Among those also in Jordan’s corner now: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who spearheaded the push to remove McCarthy from his leadership position. “My mentor Jim Jordan would be great!” Gaetz posted Tuesday on X, in response to a report that Jordan was entertaining a speaker’s bid.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), an ally of McCarthy’s with ties to the Freedom Caucus, and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) also have expressed support for Jordan.

Josh Dawsey, Amy B Wang, Colby Itkowitz, Marisa Iati, Marianna Sotomayor, Jacqueline Alemany, Maegan Vazquez and Mariana Alfaro contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post