Yesterday the Republican members of the House of Representatives (there are 221 in all) met behind closed doors to hear from the two candidates Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan who put their names forward to replace Kevin McCarthy as speaker. In order to prevent a repeat of the public humiliation that took place in January when McCarthy had to make all manner of deals to win over votes and even then it took 15 rounds of voting, this time the party decided that they would vote behind closed doors until one candidate got at least 217 votes, the minimum necessary to get a majority in the 433-member house (two seats are vacant due to resignations).
Scalise and Jordan are supporters of all the extreme Republican positions. Both are Trump loyalists who refuse to concede that he lost the election and have refused to condemn the actions of the January 6th rioters. Scalise has even given a speech to a white nationalist neo-Nazi group and reportedly once referred to himself as “David Duke without the baggage”. In a normal party, such things would hurt a politician but in today’s Republican party it is likely seen as a plus. Meanwhile Jordan has been dogged by allegations that when he was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University, he turned a blind eye to rampant sexual abuse of about 300 wrestlers by the team doctor, claiming that he did not know what was going on.
But Jordan also refused to co-operate with an official investigation which found Strauss’s abuse was an “open secret”, and that “coaches, trainers and other team physicians were fully aware of Strauss’ activities, and yet few seemed inclined to do anything to stop it”.
At one hearing, another former wrestler, Adam DiSabato, said: “Jim Jordan called me crying, crying, groveling, on the Fourth of July … begging me to go against my brother, begging me, crying for half an hour. That’s the kind of cover-up that’s going on here. He’s a coward. He’s a coward.”
Yetts has previously said: “If Jordan says he didn’t know about it, then he’s lying.”
Yes, these two are the best that they can come up with. Maybe they should rally around George Santos as their next speaker.
Since all 212 Democrats are going to vote for their leader Hakeem Jeffries, Republicans could afford to have at most four defections. After hearing from both, they took a secret ballot and Scalise won 113 to 99. After that, Jordan said that he would vote for Scalise for speaker.
Chalk this up as yet another endorsement loss for serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT) who strongly supported Jordan. It just shows that when there is a secret ballot, his vaunted influence in the party evaporates.
Normally, when the losing candidate in a race throws their support to the rival, that would end the process with everyone rallying around the winner. But this Republican party is far from normal. Some Republicans are refusing to vote for Scalise, so the meeting was adjourned without having reached the 217 threshold, to reconvene today and try again. And possibly again. And again.
Seth Meyers provides commentary on this, George Santos, and the surprising sudden appearance of The Scarlet Letter