A close ally of Donald Trump, Jim Jordan was a “significant player” in the former president’s attempts to overturn Biden’s 2020 election win, according to a congressional investigation.
Hardline conservative Republican Jim Jordan’s quest to become speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives ended on Friday as his fellow Republicans revoked their support following a third, failed vote on the House floor, lawmakers said.
The secret-ballot vote means the chamber will be leaderless and unable to respond to President Joe Biden’s request for aid to Ukraine and Israel until next week at the earliest.
Opposition to Jordan’s candidacy from within his party grew over the course of the week. Some 25 Republican lawmakers voted against him in a third round of balloting on the House floor on Friday, more than the 22 who had opposed in the second round on Wednesday. Jordan received 194 votes, well short of the 214 he needed to claim the speaker’s gavel.
Republicans then voted to revoke Jordan’s nomination in a closed-door meeting.
Now ending its third workweek without a leader, the House cannot act on a $106 billion national-security package unveiled by Biden on Friday that would bolster U.S. border security and send billions to Israel and Ukraine.
“Jim is a good man. But you know, when the votes aren’t there, the votes aren’t there,” said Republican Representative Greg Murphy, a Jordan supporter.
A close ally of Donald Trump, Jordan was a “significant player” in the former president’s attempts to overturn Biden’s 2020 election win, according to a congressional investigation.
“I think there were all kinds of problems with the 2020 election, and I’ve been clear about that,” he said at a news conference before the vote.
The narrow and fractious Republican majority has failed to unite behind Jordan or any other candidate to replace Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted by a handful of party members on Oct. 3. They also have been unable to agree on a fallback plan that would let the chamber take up legislation.
Republicans control the chamber by a narrow 221-212 majority, though some members were absent from Friday’s voting.
Jordan’s vote total was less than McCarthy netted in 15 grueling rounds of voting in January.
Jordan’s bare-knuckle approach seems to have worked against him, as some of his Republican opponents have been outraged by harassing phone calls and death threats.
Jordan’s allies say that should not matter. “All of us in Congress receive death threats. I don’t know if that’s a newsflash for anybody here,” Republican Representative Scott Perry said.
Democrats describe Jordan as a dangerous extremist and have unanimously voted against him.
“Their nominee’s vision is a direct attack on the freedom and the rights of the American people, and he’s got the record to prove it,” Democratic Representative Katherine Clark said on the House floor.
It is unclear whether Republicans will be able to unite behind any other candidates possible candidates if Jordan drops out.
Republicans also are divided on a backup option that could allow the chamber to address Biden’s aid package and other pressing matters, like spending legislation that would allow the U.S. government to keep functioning beyond a Nov. 17 deadline.
That plan would give more authority to Republican Representative Patrick McHenry, who is filling the speaker’s chair on a temporary basis. House Democrats and the White House have said they are open to the idea, but Republicans rejected it on Thursday.
‘PETTY, PARTISAN, ANGRY POLITICS’
Biden urged Republicans to resolve their differences in a televised speech on Thursday. “You can’t let petty, partisan, angry politics get in the way of our responsibilities as a great nation,” he said.
Investors say the turmoil on Capitol Hill is also contributing to market volatility.
Jordan has built his reputation as a leader of that uncompromising right flank. His backers said that would make him an effective fighter for conservative policies in a town where Democrats control the Senate and the White House.
He helped to engineer government shutdowns in 2013 and 2018 and helped to push Republican Speaker John Boehner into retirement in 2015.