It wasn’t exactly a profile in courage, but on Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) third run at the House Speakership on Friday, Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-7th NJ) broke with the MAGA acolyte and cast his vote for the deposed Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
New Jersey’s other two Republicans Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th NJ) and Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-2nd NJ) stayed with Jordan who lost by a larger margin on his third try with the Republican defections growing to 25.
Democratic Minority leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) scored 210 to Jordan’s 199 and led the tally through the entire roll call. Two members from each party, including Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10thNJ) were absent.
The Speaker of the House is the second in the line of succession, after the Vice-President to the Presidency.
After Jordan’s third defeat on the floor, NBC News reported the GOP House caucus went into a U.S. Capitol basement closed door meeting at which a majority of the members voted to have Jordan stand down in his bid for the Speaker’s gavel.
For the two prior ballots, Kean, once regarded as a moderate, voted with Jordan, who was endorsed by Donald Trump. Jordan also voted to reject the certification of President Biden’s 2020 win after the violent insurrection and ignored a subpoena from the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“We as a nation are facing great threats at home and abroad,” Kean tweeted “American soldiers are under attack. Our fellow countrymen are held hostage by terrorists. War rages in Europe and Israel. This is a time for wisdom and service. The People’s House must govern.”
Kean continued. “With great respect, it has become evident that Chairman Jordan does not and will not have the votes to become Speaker.”
In the third round fully half of the 18 Republican House members who pulled out a win in a district carried by President Biden in 2020 had left the Jordan fold. In addition to Kean, that cohort in our region now includes Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY), Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY), Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY), Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
The House is scheduled to return Monday to resume deliberations as the Nov. 17 deadline to fund the federal government gets closer and closer. Hair trigger tensions in the Mideast, the ongoing Ukrainian and Russian war as well as the deepening crisis at America’s southern border, has prompted President Biden to submit a $105 billion supplemental appropriations request.
By week’s end it was clear the heavy-handed full court press by Fox’s Sean Hannity and Trump field marshal Steve Bannon to scare Republicans into line behind Jordan had backfired and generated nothing but ill-will within the already fractured GOP House caucus.
Rep. Don Bacon (R-NEB) told the Hill that his wife had to sleep with a loaded gun under her pillow after getting more threatening phone calls from voters irate over his voting for deposed Speaker McCarthy over Jordan.
In the third round, Bacon, who voted to certify the 2020 election, switched his vote again opting to back Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who is currently serving as the House’s speaker pro tempore. Unlike McCarthy, Jordan, and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) McHenry voted, as did Bacon, to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Before Jordan’s third defeat, Democratic Minority Leader Jeffries forcefully reaffirmed his caucus’s view that Jordan was “a clear and present danger to the American people” and that Democrats were resolved “to stay as long as it takes to end this national nightmare.”
Jeffries specifically referenced Jordan’s refusal to support the legitimacy of President Biden’s 2020 victory as a disqualification.
“That’s disrespectful to the American people,” Jeffries told reporters. “Jim Jordan wants to impose a nationwide abortion ban and he is the poster child for MAGA extremism. We are saying to our traditional Republican colleagues, good men, and women on the other side of the aisle—end the attachment to the extremist Jim Jordan and join with Democrats in finding a bi-partisan path forward.”
When pressed by reporters if the Democrats could support McHenry, Jeffries said “I have said repeatedly that there are many Republicans on the other side of the aisle who believe are good Americans, good patriots, good men and women and Patrick McHenry is one of them. There are others.”
It appears that Democrats are going to insist that the next Speaker not be an election denier.
Will Rep. Kean?
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Author: Bob Hennelly