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Rabid Jim Jordan Fans Go Nuts on Republicans Who Let Him Down

Several House Republicans claim they’re being harassed by people who support Jim Jordan for House speaker.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Representative Jim Jordan’s bid for speaker of the House was always a long shot, but his allies may have doomed him.

Along with a pressure campaign orchestrated by Sean Hannity’s production team at Fox, Jordan’s camp is allegedly (and often anonymously) attempting to strong-arm his critics in hopes of reversing some two dozen holdouts against the Ohio Republican.

Tactics, which Jordan himself has disavowed, have so far included veiled threats and leveraging outright lies about political allegiances, according to several Republicans.

Jordan has so far lost two floor votes for the gavel, bleeding more votes with each run. On Tuesday, the ultraconservative lost the ballot by 20 votes. During Wednesday’s vote, he lost two more, suggesting that something behind the scenes was going haywire.

Several of Jordan’s detractors took to the press to make their grievances with the unsavory gambit known.

Representative Don Bacon told Politico that his wife had received several anonymous emails and texts warning her husband to back Jordan, reading things like, “Why is your husband causing chaos by not supporting Jim Jordan?” and claiming that Bacon was a “failure” and not a “team player.”

“Threatening us does not work,” Bacon later told Newsmax.

Representative Carlos Giménez told NBC he has been the target of robocalls over his opposition to Jordan’s candidacy.

In an interview with CBS, Giménez added that Jordan’s camp was weaponizing misinformation and “total lies” to sway opinion, including claiming that the Florida congressman would cast his vote for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

“It doesn’t work on me. What you’ve done now is you’ve cemented my position,” Giménez said, calling the behavior “very disturbing.”

Other Republicans agreed, doubling down on their previous positions.

“The one thing that will never work with me—if you try to pressure me, if you try to threaten me, then I shut off,” Representative Mario Díaz-Balart told Politico.

“I don’t think it’s been helpful to Jim,” Representative Byron Donalds told C-SPAN, referring to Jordan’s whip operation. “Some of the stuff just is not going to move these members. As a matter of fact, it only makes them harder to convince.”

As Jordan preps for another ballot for House speaker Thursday at noon, his Republican opponents warn that he will only continue to bleed more votes, revealing to CNN’s Melanie Zanona that they have been staggering their “no” votes against Jordan to illustrate growing opposition.

“Not in Our Name”: Jewish Activists Take Over Capitol to Demand Ceasefire in Gaza

The massive Jewish-led protest was met with mass arrests.

Hundreds of Jewish activists protest against the Israeli military operation in Gaza, inside the Capitol, on October 18.

Hundreds of Jewish activists protested inside the Capitol on Wednesday, demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. And just as quickly, Capitol Police began arresting them.

The Jewish-led protest involved thousands more protesting outside the Capitol, as well as about two dozen rabbis leading a prayer inside the halls of Congress. Organizers of the event estimated that 500 protesters were arrested, including the rabbis.

Activists inside the Capitol rotunda brought signs emblazoned with such slogans as “Jews say ceasefire now” and “Mourn the dead, and fight like hell for the living.” Those gathered frequently broke out into chants, proclaiming, “Not in our name.”

Capitol Police arrested the protesters, citing rules forbidding demonstrations inside congressional buildings.

Wednesday’s protest action, which kicked off at noon local time, was organized by a coalition of groups, including Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow.

“Our movement will stop the genocide,” read one post from IfNotNow on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Our movement will end apartheid. Our movement will win freedom, equality, and safety for all.”

Outside the Capitol, several Jewish leaders, as well as Representatives Cori Bush and Rashida Tlaib, gave speeches demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. Representative Ayanna Pressley also later expressed solidarity with the protesters. All three progressives are part of a small coalition of House Democrats who have introduced a congressional resolution demanding “an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Israel and occupied Palestine.”

Dozens of Jewish activists were also arrested during a protest outside the White House on Monday. IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace, which organized that protest as well, demanded that President Joe Biden force a ceasefire.

The latest round of violence in this conflict began when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel earlier this month, killing hundreds of Israelis and taking dozens hostage. Israel has responded with a bombing campaign, as well by limiting the occupied Gaza Strip’s water, food, and electricity. The U.N. estimates that more than 3,000 Palestinians and 1,300 Israelis have died thus far.

This article has been updated.

Trump’s D.C. Trial Could Soon Be Televised for Your Viewing Pleasure

You may be able to watch one of Donald Trump’s biggest trials in real time.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Donald Trump might be the star of a new TV special soon: his upcoming D.C. trial.

NBCUniversal News Group filed a 43-page motion on Wednesday hoping to televise USA v Trump, the first criminal trial of a U.S. president.

“The American public has an extraordinary interest in seeing and hearing this trial of former President Trump,” the corporation’s legal team, fronted by Theodore Boutrous Jr., wrote in its application. “If ever a trial were to be televised, this one should be, for the benefit of American democracy.”

Trump faces four felony counts in D.C. for his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results: two charges related to the disruption of Congress’s certification of the electoral vote on January 6, 2021; another for attempting to thwart the tallying of votes; and a fourth for conspiracy to deprive U.S. citizens of their right to vote.

In a request filed to U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, NBC asked to broadcast the trial with audio and video, either with a slight delay by press pool or live using the court’s own equipment.

The effort faces an uphill battle—electronic media coverage of criminal cases has been prohibited in federal courts for the better part of the last century. So far, video access hasn’t been allowed during any of Trump’s pretrial hearings in the case, though an overflow courtroom with a video feed has been set up for reporters.

“No compelling or substantial government interest supports restricting public access to a minuscule number of reporters and a handful of members of the public who can physically access the courtroom in Washington, D.C. to see and hear what happens,” the NBCU legal team wrote.

NBCU’s latest filing isn’t the only attempt to bring cameras into the courtroom, however. Earlier this month, a media coalition including C-SPAN, CBS News, ABC News, and CNN filed a joint application to televise the proceedings. That bid included a request to the Judicial Conference, which drafts the rules and regulations binding federal courts.

Judge Chutkan has scheduled March 4, 2024, as the start date for Trump’s trial—right before Super Tuesday.

Jim Jordan Face-Plants Even Harder During Second House Speaker Vote

Fifteen days, two rounds of voting, and Republicans still can’t find a House speaker.

Jim Jordan
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Fifteen days without a speaker of the House, and it appears that the Republican Party, and the nation, are back to square one.

Representative Jim Jordan lost the floor vote for the seat a second time on Wednesday, and by an even bigger margin than in the first round of voting, marking what many believe to be an end to the ultraconservative’s bid for the House’s most prominent position.

The Ohio Republican secured only 199 votes on Wednesday, two fewer than he got a day earlier. Twenty-two of his own colleagues voted against him.

It’s not a surprise that Jordan is bleeding votes. Republican opposition to the Freedom Caucus founder was tight ahead of the vote, with one House GOP member predicting potentially 25 votes against Jordan if voting went to a third ballot.

“The opposition is organized. We’re in tight comms, unified, and growing,” the unnamed member said, reported CNN’s Manu Raju.

Even one of Jordan’s own allies asked for “prayers” for the speaker nominee on Wednesday morning, predicting more losses for Jordan, reported Punchbowl News’s Jake Sherman.

Jordan’s rise-and-fall candidacy highlighted a growing rift in the Republican Party, split between a handful of far-right members of the House and a silent majority of moderates.

The GOP began weighing new options even before the second ballot for Jordan’s speakership began. Extending Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry’s term is chief among them, though Jordan has spoken out against it, reported Fox News’s Chad Pergram. The move would extend McHenry’s temporary position to November 17 and increase his power ahead of the impending government shutdown next month.

“We’ve been at this for two weeks. The American people deserve to have their government functioning,” Jordan said to a huddle of reporters ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

The One Word Biden Failed to Say During His Big Speech in Israel

President Joe Biden delivered a big speech from Israel as the war on Gaza continues.

President Joe Biden speaks at a lecturn. Israeli and U.S. flags are behind him.

There was one word sorely missing from President Biden’s big speech in Israel on Wednesday: “cease-fire.”

Biden visited Israel on Wednesday to express solidarity with the country and meet with leaders there. In a lackluster speech from Tel Aviv, he cautioned against Israeli aggression and condemned Hamas, but carefully avoided calling for a de-escalation in the conflict.

“Hamas committed atrocities that recall the worst ravages of ISIS, unleashing pure, unadulterated evil upon the world. There’s no rationalizing it, no excusing it. Period,” Biden said.

He made the distinction that the “vast majority of Palestinians are not Hamas. Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people,” he said.

However, he only issued a soft warning to Israel: “While you feel that rage, don’t be consumed by it.”

“After 9/11 we were enraged in the United States. While we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes,” he said.

Biden did not call for a ceasefire or de-escalation, and promised to support Israel. “I know the choices are never clear or easy,” he said.

“What sets us apart from the terrorists is we believe in the fundamental dignity of every life,” Biden said, but he made no mention of the egregious statements made by many Israeli officials suggesting they believe just the opposite, and no condemnation of Israel’s indiscriminate massacre of Palestinians.

Israel’s immense military response in Gaza has left over 3,000 Palestinians dead and over 12,000 thousand injured, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Israel continues to block Gaza from receiving any food, water, electricity, or humanitarian aid. On Tuesday, a bombing at a hospital in Gaza wounded and injured hundreds of people, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. Palestinian officials have blamed an Israeli airstrike, but Israeli officials claim that a misfired Hamas rocket was to blame, a point which Biden echoed in his speech.

Instead of calling for a ceasefire, Biden made it clear that his priorities lie with the Israelis.

“For me, as the American president, there is no higher priority than the release and safe return of all these hostages,” he said.

Biden said that the violence “cuts deeper” in Israel, because of the “scars left by millennia of antisemitism.” He pointed out that the day of Hamas’s incursion was the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

“The world watched then. It knew. And the world did nothing. We will not stand by and do nothing again,” he said referring to mass genocide. This sentiment sits in stark contrast to statements like those of Holocaust scholar Raz Segal, who has called Israel’s military response in Gaza a “textbook case of genocide.”

Biden’s silence fits with a HuffPost report last week that found that U.S. diplomats have been warned not to use the words “de-escalation/ceasefire,” “end to violence/bloodshed,” and “restoring calm.”

Biden’s speech also comes shortly after the U.S. vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that condemned Hamas’s attack, condemned all violence against civilians, and called for a “humanitarian pause” in Gaza. The U.S. was the only country in the UNSC to veto this resolution.

RFK Jr. Is Very Bad News for Trump’s Election Chances, New Poll Says

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. running as an independent actually helps Joe Biden.

Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Republican fears around Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s recent party pivot appear to be coming true.

In a potential three-way 2024 presidential election, RFK Jr.’s influence over independents would give President Joe Biden a seven percentage point advantage over Donald Trump, according to a new national poll by NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Marist.

The junior Kennedy, who began his presidential campaign on the Democratic ticket, drew the ire of Republicans last week when he switched to being an independent in his long-shot White House bid.

That decision is apparently leaching support among independents, and some Republicans, away from Trump.

The 1,218-person survey shows that between Biden and Trump alone, the campaign for the White House would be a tight race, with Biden securing 49 percent of the vote against Trump’s 46 percent.

However, when RFK Jr. is thrown in the mix, support for Trump drops to 37 percent and Biden’s number dips to 44 percent, with RFK Jr. nabbing 16 percent of the vote—a graver loss for Trump than previously predicted.

With Kennedy running as an independent, Democratic support behind Biden dips by five percentage points, while Republican support behind Trump plummets by 10 points, according to the poll’s findings.

The 69-year-old’s outsider campaign has curried favor with some members of the far right for disavowing aspects of U.S. history while touting vaccine conspiracy theories. But RFK Jr.’s numbers in the recent poll also speak to a growing demographic in American politics: independents tired of hyperpartisan politics who are looking for another option.

“Although it’s always tricky to assess the impact of a third-party candidate, right now Kennedy alters the equation in Biden’s favor,” said Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “What this does speak to, however, is that about one in six voters are looking for another option, especially independents.”

House Chamber Gasps as GOP Rep. Makes Very Unexpected Dip Into Jordan’s Résumé

Elise Stefanik, why are you like this?

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Representative Elise Stefanik might have thought she was offering a stoic show of support while nominating Jim Jordan for House speaker on Wednesday, but instead she was met with a cacophony of boos from her colleagues when an unexpected turn in her speech nodded to Jordan’s alleged role in a collegiate sex abuse scandal.

“Jim is the voice of the American people who have felt voiceless for far too long,” Stefanik said on the House floor. “Whether on the wrestling mat or in the committee room, Jim Jordan is strategic, scrappy, tough, and principled.”

It was an odd detail to highlight amid what is arguably the highlight of Jordan’s already explosive political career.

Jordan, who served as an assistant coach to Ohio State University’s wrestling team between 1986 and 1994, has faced severe blowback for allegedly participating in a coverup of the rampant sex abuse by team doctor Richard Strauss.

Strauss committed 1,429 sexual assaults and 47 rapes against at least 177 male student-athletes during his tenure with the team, according to a 2019 university report.

After Representative Steve Scalise lost the GOP nomination last week, former OSU athletes spoke out en masse against the possibility of a Jordan speakership, arguing that the ultraconservative politician failed to protect them from the serial predator and “doesn’t deserve to be House speaker.”

“Do you really want a guy in that job who chose not to stand up for his guys?” former OSU wrestler Mike Schyck told NBC. “Is that the kind of character trait you want for a House speaker?”

A Jordan spokesperson, Russell Dye, denied that the Trump-endorsed congressman knew of the abuse during his time at OSU. “Chairman Jordan never saw or heard of any abuse, and if he had, he would have dealt with it,” Dye said in an email to NBC.

Fox News Reporter Caught Cursing Out Republicans for Speaker Drama

Even Fox News is fed up with House Republicans.

Representative Don Bacon casts his vote for House speaker
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Representative Don Bacon casts his vote for House speaker.

It appears that even Fox News is sick of Republican infighting.

Fox anchor Brian Kilmeade was caught fuming on a hot mic during the speaker vote on Tuesday, snubbing Representative Don Bacon as a “dumbass” after the Nebraska Republican voted against Jim Jordan.

Kilmeade may have been reaching the end of his rope with the divided caucus. Earlier in the day, the testy Fox & Friends host called the House GOP a “carnival of idiots” for floundering amid the party’s leadership crisis.

Off the floor, other members of Fox seemed equally tired of the charade.

“We wouldn’t be here if every single Democrat didn’t vote with eight Republicans to shut this place down,” former speaker Kevin McCarthy told a press huddle moments after Jordan lost the House vote.

“There’s 16 Republicans who voted against Jim Jordan today on the floor, including two votes [for] somebody who’s not even a member anymore,” Fox News’s Chad Pergram lashed back. (In reality, 20 Republicans voted against Jim Jordan.)

The frustration is palpable from a network that actively attempted to rally support behind Jordan. One of the station’s highest-rated anchors, Sean Hannity, was exposed over the weekend for conducting a pressure campaign against undecided party members in an attempt to push the Ohio Republican past the 217-vote finish line, reported The Washington Post’s Leigh Ann Caldwell.

Meanwhile, moderates are beginning to question if the ultraconservative Republican is the only option, openly floating the idea of keeping Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry in the position with expanded powers until November 17, when government funding expires.

Gaza Hospital Bombing Deeply Complicates Biden Visit to Israel

Joe Biden is planning a trip to show solidarity with Israel. Meanwhile, there was just a major explosion at a hospital.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On Tuesday, a strike on a hospital in Gaza killed and wounded hundreds of Palestinian doctors, patients, and people seeking shelter. Joe Biden is expected to visit Israel in a show of his support tomorrow.

Palestinian officials say hundreds have been injured due to a suspected Israeli airstrike on the Al Ahli Hospital in the middle of Gaza City Wednesday evening. A Gaza civil defense chief said that more than 300 people were killed, while a Gaza Health Ministry official estimated that at least 500 people were killed and wounded. Many victims are still trapped under rubble.

Hospitals in Gaza have become places of refuge for those seeking shelter amid massive displacement and continued airstrikes on the occupied territory. According to the Associated Press, if this report is confirmed, this attack would be the deadliest Israeli airstrike in the five wars fought since 2008.

The Israeli military has denied involvement and says the attack was due to a misfired rocket from Hamas.

Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli airstrikes hit two refugee camps and a U.N. school in Gaza housing displaced people. At least 18 people were killed and more injured, Palestinian officials said.

The bombing comes a day before Biden was set to arrive in Israel to show solidarity with the country. This complicates that mission enormously, and people will be paying close attention to what Biden has to say.

This article has been updated.

Republicans Kick Off New Speaker Search as Effectively as They Did the Last One

Jim Jordan does not have the votes—and it’s not clear if he’ll get them.

Representative Jim Jordan
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The House of Representatives’ first floor vote to plant Representative Jim Jordan as speaker has, unsurprisingly, failed.

Jordan received only 200 votes, with double-digit “no” votes from his own party. Meanwhile, all 212 Democrats voted for their nominee, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

The next House speaker needs a majority of the chamber, or 217 votes, to win the coveted position. That requires a herculean effort to rally the divided Republican caucus, which holds a slim majority with just 221 seats in the House.

The 20 Republican representatives who voted against Jordan are Don Bacon, Ken Buck, Lori Chavez-DeRember, Anthony D’Esposito, Mario Diaz Balart, Jake Ellzey, Andrew Garbarino, Kay Granger, Carlos Giminez, Vicente Gonzales, John James, Doug LaMalfa, Mike Lawler, Mike Kelly, Jen Kiggans, Nick Lalota, John Rutherford, Mike Simpson, Victoria Spartz, and Steve Womack. The margin is far worse than initially expected.

The Freedom Caucus founder was a peculiar choice for unifying the party, given his controversial past and inability to inspire a strong backing after two rounds of closed-door GOP nominations. Jordan, perhaps most notably, hasn’t been able to turn a bill into law since he was first elected in 2006. He also drew ire for refusing to recognize the 2020 presidential election results, for his role in the January 6 insurrection, and long ago, for allegedly turning a blind eye to a sex abuse scandal at Ohio State University.

Since former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the seat two weeks ago by a far-right faction led by Representative Matt Gaetz, House Republicans have sought to avoid the 15-ballot spectacle that gave him the gavel. Though if Jordan’s first vote serves as any indication, the House may be in for another wild ride.