Donald Trump Endorses Staunch Ally Jim Jordan for House Speaker

Ending speculation that he would actively seek the newly-vacated House speakership, former President Donald Trump endorsed Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, the powerful chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, for the top job on Friday, jumping into what for now is a two-way race between Jordan and Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise, who currently serves as House Majority Leader.

Dubbing Jordan a “STAR,” Trump called the Ohio congressman “STRONG on Crime, Borders, our Military/Vets, & 2nd Amendment,” adding that he “will be a GREAT Speaker of the House, & has my Complete & Total Endorsement!”

So far, only Jordan and Scalise have officially jumped into the race that began on Tuesday when California Representative Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the speakership—a historic first.

Jordan, a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, is a hardcore Trump loyalist and is a divisive figure within the GOP. From his congressional leadership perch, he has launched investigations into the Biden family and is one of the leaders of the ongoing impeachment inquiry into the president.

It’s unclear how much the endorsement will actually help Jordan, as the GOP needs to unite a fractious caucus before the speaker vote next week. “It likely hurts more than helps,” one GOP lawmaker, speaking anonymously, told Axios Friday. “Likely Jordan accelerates getting the votes he was going to get anyway but hardens those he wasn’t getting faster.” Another said Trump’s endorsement “works both ways. Some will be impressed, some are sick of him and would like him to stay in Florida.”

A conservative lawmaker who supports Jordan told Axios that “the real question is can Republicans in districts Biden won vote for a Trump-endorsed Speaker?” noting that House members in vulnerable seats are going to have to publicly cast votes on the House floor—one that could potentially haunt them in 2024.

On Friday, McCarthy, who has said he will not seek the job again, declined to say who he might support as his replacement. Asked for his opinion about Trump’s endorsement, McCarthy simply noted that “only members vote” in the speaker election. “I think the members can sit down, and they can make the decision,” he said.

McCarthy added that Jordan and Scalise sought his advice before a forum for speaker candidates next Tuesday. “They’re both good friends,” he told reporters. “I’ve talked to both of them.” The House will vote on Wednesday.

Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, who led the charge against McCarthy, has praised both Jordan and Scalise as good options. Either, he said Wednesday, would be a “monumental upgrade” from McCarthy. According to The Washington Post, Speaker Scalise or Speaker Jordan would be the most ideologically conservative Republican to hold the post in recent history.

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