Jordan Inches Closer to Presidency, But Republicans Still Resist | ET REALITY


Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio gained momentum Monday in his bid to become president, winning over several of his biggest opponents in the fractured ranks of the Republican Party even as deep reservations remained about his rise to the House’s top job. .

Several traditional Republicans who had said they could not tolerate a vote for Jordan, the hardline co-founder of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, fell in line after a pressure campaign by their right-wing allies and a series of one-sided protests. individual calls with him.

His setbacks suggested Jordan was within striking distance of the 217 votes he would need to be elected in a vote planned around noon Tuesday. But the outcome was far from certain.

“The speaker’s role is to unite all Republicans. That is what I intend to do,” Jordan said in a letter sent to his Republican colleagues on Monday. In it, Jordan acknowledged the deep divisions in the Republican Party and said he would give more input to the party’s agenda.

“We will ensure that there are more Republican voices involved in our important decisions beyond the Five Families,” he wrote, using House Republican lawmakers’ shorthand for the various factions in their ranks. It is also a reference to warring mafia families.

People close to Jordan, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the number of holdout Republicans had dropped from about 50 to about 10. That’s still enough to block his election, but he planned to press ahead anyway, counting on its rest. the opposition gives in to pressure in the House of Representatives.

Leaving a two-hour meeting of House Republicans Monday night at the Capitol, Jordan indicated he would force a series of votes on the floor Tuesday until Republicans had elected a speaker.

“We need to get a speaker tomorrow,” he said. “The American people deserve their Congress, their House of Representatives, to work. And that can’t happen without a speaker, so we have to do it. Furthermore, we must help our best friend and closest ally, Israel.”

If Jordan, 59, were to become president, he would cap an extraordinary rise in Congress that has propelled him from a right-wing rebel on the fringes of his party to second in line for the presidency.

His rise would be the clearest indicator yet of the extent to which House Republicans have moved to the right during Jordan’s 16 years in the chamber. He would also show how strong the control that former President Donald J. Trump, who counts Jordan among his closest allies, has over the party.

A small group of far-right Republicans, most of whom support Jordan, forced Kevin McCarthy to resign as speaker two weeks ago. Then a broader group of Jordan supporters refused to endorse the party’s initially chosen successor to the job, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who abruptly retired last week.

The falls of McCarthy and Scalise left many traditional Republicans bitter that the will of a majority in their ranks had not been respected. Several argued that elevating Jordan would reward “bad behavior.”

In his conversations with holdouts, Jordan said he heard “frustrations over the treatment of Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise and the events of the past month.”

Several members spoke against Jordan’s candidacy during Monday night’s closed-door meeting in the basement of the Capitol.

One of them, Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, proposed giving Rep. Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina (the speaker pro tempore whose role is primarily to hold an election for a president) more power to carry out the work of the chamber during next month until the conflict ends. be resolved.

“When you go outside the rules of your own conference because you didn’t get your way, I think it’s really sad,” Kelly said, using a profanity to describe the tactics Jordan supporters used to undermine Scalise’s leadership. victory. “That’s a real indictment of who you are.”

Jordan won the party’s nomination after Scalise’s withdrawal, but dozens of Republicans signaled they would not support him in the House.

That was before Jordan and his allies got to work on a public pressure campaign against lawmakers who resisted his election.

Amy Kremer, a political activist who also runs Women for America First, which organized a “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6, 2021, released a list of 12 members on Friday. She listed the phone numbers of her offices and urged her followers to call them and tell them to support Mr. Jordan. The list included Representatives Ann Wagner of Missouri, Mike Rogers of Alabama and Carlos Giménez of Florida, all of whom had publicly declared their opposition to Mr. Jordan.

On Monday morning, two of the three had declared their support.

Ms. Wagner, a Scalise supporter, had called Jordan’s candidacy “a failure” and accused him of classless behavior after his loss to Scalise. But on Monday she said Jordan had won her over.

“Throughout my time in Congress, I have always been a team player and supported our Republican candidates outside of conference,” Wagner said in a statement. “Jim Jordan and I spoke at length again this morning, and he has allayed my concerns about keeping the government open with conservative funding, the need for strong border security, our need for consistent international support in times of war and unrest, as well such as the need for stronger protections against the scourge of human trafficking and child exploitation.”

Rogers, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he had “two cordial, thoughtful and productive conversations” with Jordan, and received assurances about the functioning of the government and the funding of the military.

Jordan also garnered support from Rep. Ken Calvert of California, chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, who said he had spoken with Jordan “about how we need to get the House back on track to achieve our national security and our appropriations.” goals.”

Another initial holdout, Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida, said he remained “deeply frustrated” but would vote for Jordan based on the need for a functioning House.

“I believe the future and immediate well-being and security of our country is too important and the need for Republicans to move forward together is greater than ever,” Buchanan said.

Still, there were some members of Congress who were unmoved.

Giménez said he would continue to support McCarthy and refuse to give in to the far-right rebels who had overthrown him.

“Last week, eight colleagues joined all Democratic Socialists to carry out a coup against our duly elected Republican President, Kevin McCarthy,” Giménez wrote on the social media site X. “These 8 lit the fuse and all Democrats in Congress. provided the gunpowder to overthrow the will of the 96% of Republicans in Congress who voted to retain President McCarthy. I will not participate in this despicable coup. “President McCarthy should never have been impeached to begin with.”

Kayla Guo and Robert Jimison contributed with reports.

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