US President Donald Trump shakes hands with US Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, as he disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival at Lima Allen County Airport in Lima, Ohio, March 20, 2019, as he travels to visit a military manufacturing facility and attend a fundraiser.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump on Friday endorsed Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives.
Trump’s endorsement of his close ally Jordan in a social media post came three days after the House voted to remove Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as speaker.
And it came after several GOP lawmakers called for Trump himself to be elected speaker. The former president himself entertained that idea of doing so, at least as a place-keeper until a permanent speaker is chosen.
Trump wrote that Jordan “will be a GREAT Speaker of the House, & has my Complete & Total Endorsement!”
“He is STRONG on Crime, Borders, our Military/Vets, & 2nd Amendment,” Trump wrote early Friday on his Truth Social site.
The endorsement is a blow to the second leading declared candidate for the post, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., who has a long list of allies and more experience in leadership.
Trump is the clear frontrunner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination due to his strong popularity among Republican voters.
House members are expected back early next week for a Tuesday candidate forum for the House speaker’s race and a tentatively scheduled Wednesday vote.
Democrats are expected to vote against all the candidates. Republicans only have a slight majority in the House, meaning that the next speaker will have to have won nearly all GOP votes to gain election.
What about Jordan’s controversial wrestling past?
Rep. Jim Jordan(R-OH) makes his way through a gauntlet of reporters as he makes his way towards a GOP leadership meeting at the Capitol in the wake of the Speaker of the House crisis, in Washington, DC.
Bill O’Leary | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Trump, in his endorsement of Jordan, touted the lawmaker’s “amazing” record of success in high school wrestling, where he won state championships for four straight years, losing just one match out of 157.
“At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jim became a two-time NCAA Division l Wrestling Champion,” Trump wrote.
“So much is learned from sports, and Jim was a master!”
Jordan five years ago came under fire after multiple former Ohio State University wrestlers who said he was aware, while serving as an assistant coach there, that team doctor Richard Strauss had molested wrestlers in the mid-1990s and that Jordan failed to stop Strauss from doing so.
“I participated with Jimmy and the other wrestlers in locker-room talk about Strauss. We all did,” Shawn Dailey told NBC News in 2019 referring to Jordan. “It was very common knowledge in the locker room that if you went to Dr. Strauss for anything, you would have to pull your pants down.”
Jordan has denied he knew about Strauss abusing wrestlers he coached.
“I considered Jim Jordan a friend,” former Ohio State wrestler Mike DiSabato told NBC in 2018 “But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”
DiSabato said Jordan that year asked, “Please leave me out of it,” when DiSabato told the lawmaker he planned to go public about Strauss’ conduct.”
What’s Jordan’s position on Matt Gaetz?
Jordan’s reputation for hardline positions has raised questions among moderates about whether he could make the compromises necessary to operate in a divided government, where Democrats control the Senate and the White House.
On Tuesday, a group of eight hardline conservative Republicans and the entire Democratic caucus voted together Tuesday to remove McCarthy from the speakership, the first time in American history a House speaker was booted by his or her colleagues in a vote.
US Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks to members of the media after speaking on the House floor about a possible Motion to Vacate to oust US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on October 2, 2023.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
Many Republican House members are furious at Rep. Matt Gaetz, the three-term Florida lawmaker and fierce McCarthy antagonist who led the effort to oust the speaker.
“He undermined the conference, he undermined the institution, and he undermined the country and he doesn’t care,” moderate GOP Rep. Mike Lawler of New York told MSNBC’s Katy Tur on Wednesday.
The question of whether Gaetz should remain in the GOP conference may prove to be an early test for the two leading candidates.
Jordan has said he would not seek to remove Gaetz from the caucus, telling NBC News Thursday that Gaetz was “a talented member of Congress.” Jordan also said he disagreed with Gaetz’s push to oust McCarthy.
Scalise has not yet said what he believes should happen to Gaetz, if anything.