Well, the journey to a new House speaker has gotten even more interesting.
Soon after McCarthy was ousted, there was some talk about President Trump being named House speaker, and some of his most loyal supporters in the House were all for it. Trump surprisingly expressed interest in serving as speaker of the House, if only for a short while as Republicans deliberate over a permanent speaker.
So far Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Steve Scalise (R-La.) have declared themselves as candidates, and according to reports, Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) is also considering running.
But then Trump revealed on Friday that he’s endorsing Jim Jordan as speaker.
“Congressman Jim Jordan has been a STAR long before making his very successful journey to Washington, D.C., representing Ohio’s 4th Congressional District,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “Respected by all, he is now Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. As President, I had the honor of presenting Jim with our Country’s highest civilian award, The Presidential Medal of Freedom.”
Will Trump’s endorsement help Jordan? “It’s hard to say,” my PJ Media colleague Chris Queen noted. “House Republicans hope to move quickly to install a new speaker, but after the 15 rounds it took to install McCarthy, it might be a pipe dream to think the GOP can make this vote quicker and less painful.”
This is true, but Trump’s blessing will certainly make it easier for Trump’s supporters to coalesce behind Jordan, making it easier for him to build a strong coalition. But another factor working in Jordan’s favor is that it appears that McCarthy is also working behind the scenes to get members to back Jordan.
“It’s definitely true that McCarthy through surrogates is calling members to support Jordan,” one senior lawmaker reportedly told Axios. However, it should be noted that McCarthy’s office denies any coordinated effort to support Jordan. That said, it would make sense for McCarthy to back Jordan over Scalise.
“Scalise and McCarthy have long been viewed as rivals,” notes Axios, “with tensions spilling over into public eye on multiple occasions in recent years.”
Nevertheless, Scalise has acquired some endorsements since he announced his candidacy, including House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.). Still, multiple allies of McCarthy have backed Jordan. However, Rep. Hern is certainly likely to garner some support if he jumps in.
At this point, it’s hard to say if any candidate has a clear path to the 218 votes necessary to win. Republicans in districts that were won by Joe Biden shouldn’t think that a vote for Jordan as speaker will hurt them in the next elections. Whatever happens, I hope that this process will be much quicker and painless compared to the 15 rounds of voting we endured back in January to elect Kevin McCarthy as speaker. Republicans need to work out their issues in private and avoid more drama that will hurt them down the road. They must ensure that we don’t have endless rounds of voting. Candidates should do what they can to build up a coalition, with the lowest vote-getter dropping out each round. We don’t have time to waste on this election. If Republicans can’t work together to elect a speaker, they have little chance to be effective against the Democrats.