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6 Oct, 2023 14:18

Trump endorses candidate for US House speaker

The former president backed Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan for the role, after volunteering to step in himself
Trump endorses candidate for US House speaker

Former US President Donald Trump has given Ohio Representative Jim Jordan his “complete and total endorsement” to become House speaker, after Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the position earlier this week. 

“Congressman Jim Jordan has been a STAR long before making his very successful journey to Washington DC, representing Ohio’s 4th Congressional District,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform early on Friday. “He will be a GREAT Speaker of the House, & has my Complete & Total Endorsement.” 

Jordan put his name forward for the position on Wednesday. One day earlier, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz led a successful vote to sack California Rep. McCarthy over disagreements on funding bills and an alleged “secret side-deal” he cut with President Joe Biden to secure more military aid for Ukraine. 

Trump and Jordan have been close allies since 2016, with the Ohio lawmaker defending Trump throughout the ‘Russiagate’ investigation and two Democrat-led impeachment inquiries. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jordan is currently leading the GOP’s investigation into the Biden family’s allegedly corrupt foreign dealings.

Jordan is a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of hardline conservatives that opposed McCarthy’s speakership earlier this year and favors reduced government spending, tougher border security, and a dramatic reduction or cutoff of aid to Ukraine. Gaetz is one of the most prominent members of the group, and endorsed Jordan for the position of speaker last year.

The speaker wields significant influence in the US political system, determining which bills come up for votes and overseeing committee assignments. 

With McCarthy out of the job, the Biden administration and officials in Kiev have expressed concern that the flow of weapons and cash to Ukraine could dry up. Jordan told CNN on Wednesday that he is “against” bringing another aid package for Ukraine to a vote, adding that “the most pressing issue on Americans’ minds is not Ukraine; it is the border situation and crime on the streets.”

Multiple Republican lawmakers came out with statements of support for Jordan following Trump’s endorsement, including Texas Rep. Troy Nehls and Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, who said Jordan would “put an end to Ukraine funding, and hold the corrupt Biden administration accountable.”

Jordan needs 218 votes to secure the speakership, meaning every Republican representative bar three will have to support him. Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise has also announced his candidacy, but it is unclear whether he will remain in the race following Trump’s endorsement of Jordan. Ahead of a possible vote next week, Trump is planning on making a trip to the Capitol on Tuesday, several US media outlets reported.

Should the party be unable to decide on a replacement for McCarthy, Trump told Fox News on Thursday that he would be willing to step in and fill the role on a temporary basis.