(Ben Sellers, Headline USA) Former President Donald Trump appeared to put to rest any speculation that he might be in the running for the House speakership early Friday morning by offering his endorsement to a longtime ally, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
Trump has said that he would be willing to step up on a short-term basis as Republicans work to resolve their leadership crisis, and there is speculation that he will address the House GOP caucus on Capitol Hill next week.
Jordan, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, had been a favored choice for many in January but opted to defer at the time to McCarthy, who was the most senior Republican in the previous Congress.
Although Jordan threw his unequivocal support behind the House minority leader, that was not enough to help the centrist McCarthy—the last of the “Young Guns” (alongside former Reps. Eric Cantor of Virginia and Paul Ryan of Michigan) who had anointed themselves the “new generation” of GOP leadership during the Obama era, only to fail miserably and be rebuffed by the growing wave of grassroots anti-establishment sentiment within the party.
Some also wondered if Jordan had his own reasons for staying out of the spotlight: either to focus on the important work of the Judiciary Committee—namely in overseeing the pending impeachment hearings of President Joe Biden—or else due to a past scandal involving alleged sex abuse at the Ohio State University wrestling team where Jordan was an assistant coach in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Although not directly implicated by the allegations, some of the student accusers said Jordan may have been aware of the misconduct involving team doctor Richard Strauss. Democrats have been more than happy to make hay of the innuendo, even as they openly support child-grooming under different circumstances.
Yet, there is no doubt that Jordan, who became a household name while defending Trump during the 2019 impeachment hearings, has risen to fill the role as one of the House’s most capable and qualified leaders and a voracious attack dog who will not cave or compromise on conservative principles.
In fact, his reputation invokes such fear into the heart of his ideological adversaries that they cannot help but to lash out—an in some instances, help make the case for why he should be the next GOP leader.
So it was with RINO ex-Republican lawmaker Liz Cheney, who issued a stern warning to students at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday night about a Jordan speakership, the Gateway Pundit reported.
With Jordan as speaker, “there would no longer be any possible way to argue that a group of elected Republicans could be counted on to defend the Constitution,” claimed the former member of Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked Jan. 6 Committee, one of only two non-Democrats willing to participate in the Star Chamber farce.
.@Liz_Cheney: “If the Republicans decide that Jim Jordan should be the Speaker of the House…There would no longer be any possible way to argue that a group of elected Republicans could be counted on to defend the Constitution.” pic.twitter.com/Li4BeDgKes
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) October 5, 2023
While Cheney’s anti-endorsement could prove to be a major selling point for Jordan, several other promising GOP contenders cannot be discounted yet.
Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., the current majority whip, was an early favorite for the spot. However, focus has since shifted to Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., who is the current House majority leader and has openly confirmed his intention to seek the role.
Another wild card whose name continues to surface is Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla. Donalds is still a relative newcomer to Congress, having first been elected in 2020 after serving four years in the state legislature.
However, he clearly has demonstrated rising star-power in media appearances where he handily dismantles leftist talking points with a plain-spoken yet eloquent delivery.
After a surprisingly strong showing in the January speaker standoff, which saw him earn high praise from fellow Floridian Matt Gaetz—the same MAGA malcontent who is credited with ousting McCarthy—Donalds was assigned to the House Steering Committee, where he’s likely being groomed for future leadership roles. But the future may have come sooner than expected.
As an added benefit, electing Donalds would deliver a historic milestone to Republicans, making him the first black House speaker in U.S. history, and deny that distinction to current Democrat House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., who undoubtedly is eager to claim the distinction as his own.
Ben Sellers is the editor of Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/realbensellers.