Hours ahead of a third vote for speaker of the House, Representative Jim Jordan insisted that he’s not backing down.
For about 10 minutes, the continuously imperiled House speaker nominee offered his thoughts to reporters in a bizarre speech that name-checked the Wright brothers, ironically emphasized the need for unity, and even managed to sprinkle in some conspiracy-mongering about the validity of the 2020 presidential election.
But if there was any purpose to the ultraconservative’s brief message, it was that he plans to plough ahead with yet another floor vote, despite intraparty insistence that he should back down after two rounds of voting in which he’s lost ground.
This did not seem to trouble Jordan at all. “There’s been multiple rounds of votes for speaker before,” Jordan quipped, referring to former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s 15-ballot bid to land the House’s highest position, while the prospect of a series of weekend votes for the position looms over the legislature.
But momentum is not on Jordan’s side, as meetings between the Trump ally and his holdouts have gone south. Several of Jordan’s detractors have hardened in their opposition, in reaction to the nominee’s strong-arming campaign, in which Jordan allies sent anonymous threats to congressmen and their spouses. Now Jordan’s antagonists are unwilling to negotiate further, reported Punchbowl News’s Jake Sherman. Instead, they want Jordan to know that he will not be speaker.
Even among his allies, Jordan’s shtick is beginning to “wear a little thin,” and he has possibly “worn out his welcome,” one senior House GOP member told Fox News’s Chad Pergram.
Jordan’s long-shot bid to become speaker has only grown more fraught as the days have dragged on. In his first floor vote, 20 Republicans voted against him. In the second, another two joined their camp. And dozens more may be waiting in the wings to hop into this chorus of refusal: On Wednesday and Thursday, some party members warned that the tribe against Jordan is much larger than the “no” votes that have been tallied, with some alleging that more than half of the Republican members in the House are prepared to vote “no.”
Meanwhile, the House is unable to act on any policy without someone behind the gavel. On Friday, the White House asked Congress for $100 billion in an emergency national security funding package that would provide $61.4 billion to Ukraine, $14.3 billion to Israel, and another $10 billion in humanitarian aid. But if Jordan spends the next few days still fruitlessly chasing a vote he seems destined to lose, there’s no telling when, or if, these measures will get approved.