Trump tried to broker House leadership deal, promote loyalist Jim Jordan, report says
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Sept. 6, 2018. (Photo: Michael Reynolds, epa-efe)
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump tried to broker a deal to settle House Republicans’ leadership struggle that could result in one of his most loyal defenders becoming the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, Politico reports.
With the support of his party’s right flank, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan – a co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus – has campaigned to become Republicans’ next leader in the House, challenging Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The California congressman’s hopes to be the next speaker ended with Republicans’ midterm losses, but McCarthy is favored to become the new minority leader after lawmakers vote Wednesday afternoon.
Trump reached out to McCarthy and encouraged him to strike a deal with Jordan, according to Politico. The specifics of the negotiations remain unclear, but the news site said lawmakers speculated that he would want Jordan to become the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, which is expected to open several investigations into the Trump administration when the Democrats take control.
“I think we’re entering a world we haven’t really seen,” Jordan told reporters on Tuesday, listing the incoming Democratic chairmen who are poised to investigate Trump. “It’s going to take an attitude and an intensity about standing up for the truth and fighting.”
“Jim Jordan will be the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee,” former Trump campaign manager Cory Lewandowski told MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews on Tuesday.
An ideological firebrand, Jordan has vigorously defended Trump from his current positions on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, getting into heated exchanges with Justice Department officials, including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and fired FBI agent Peter Strzok, during hearings on the investigation into Russian election meddling. He is an outspoken critic of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and has claimed the probe is the product of anti-Trump bias.
Politico points out that the Republican Steering Committee, not McCarthy, will determine the ranking committee members and that McCarthy can easily win the contest to become minority leader without having to strike a deal with Jordan. Some lawmakers suggested Jordan would be a better fit as the ranking member on the Oversight Committee where he is already next in line, Politico reported.
Jordan would likely lead a more combative and confrontational Republican minority than McCarthy, who is considered more affable and willing to compromise to reach bipartisan agreement.
McCarthy seemed confident as he headed into a closed-door meeting with House Republicans on Tuesday, where the lawmakers assessed their electoral defeats.
“We’ve got a plan,” McCarthy told reporters.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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