House Majority Leader Steve Scalise took himself out of the running for speaker when it became clear he did not have the votes. Rep. Jim Jordan, the next Republican to try for speaker, is taking a different approach. Jordan, who also lacks the votes in a closely divided House, is trying to bully his way to the gavel.
In a secret ballot vote on Friday, 55 Republicans opposed Jordan’s candidacy. He can afford to lose four, if everyone is there for the vote. While we are talking about a population of so-called moderate House Republicans, people accustomed to whining loudly to the media about what a difficult position their party’s extremism puts them in and then turning around and voting for the extremism, that’s still a lot of people to convince to change their minds. Jordan is not taking the sweet-talk approach.
“Jordan’s team has the knives out,” an unnamed swing district Republican told The Washington Post. The reason for anonymity was simple: “I’ll vote my conscience, which is a ‘no,’ but I don’t want to be a punching bag for the next three days,” this member said. “Right now, Jordan is woefully short on votes, and his team wants to beat folks into submission."
Jordan has even had Fox News host Sean Hannity reaching out to House Republicans to lobby them—the implied threat being negative coverage if they don’t fall in line.
Even some of Jordan’s supporters are critical of the bullying campaign, which “is the dumbest way to support Jordan,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw said Sunday on CNN. He added, “I’m supporting Jordan. I’m going to vote for Jordan. As someone who wants Jim Jordan, the dumbest thing you can do is to continue pissing off those people.
Jordan is pushing for a Tuesday floor vote, which is in itself interesting. The Post reports, “Jordan had previously said he wouldn’t hold a vote unless he had the support of 217 Republicans locked down (and remember, there are just 221 House Republicans in total). So some see Jordan’s push for a floor effort as another attempt at bullying members.” It’s also a sign of Jordan’s sense of entitlement—he reportedly told Scalise he would get one vote before it was Jordan’s turn. Scalise read the room and didn’t take it to the floor. Jordan thinks he deserves this despite the fact that, as one Republican aide told the Post, “Not a single person I’ve spoken to thinks Jim Jordan has the votes.”
Jordan’s opponents are reportedly planning to nominate a challenger in Tuesday’s floor vote. Before that, House Republicans will have yet another closed-door meeting Monday evening. Unless something very unexpected happens there, it’s not looking like we’ll have a speaker anytime soon.
Sign if you agree: No more MAGA circus. Hakeem Jeffries for speaker.