How Jim Jordan’s refusal to vote in 2020 hurt his bid for House Speaker

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As Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) fought his battle to become House speaker, some House Republicans were uncomfortable with the prospect of an election denier holding the administration’s most powerful legislative seat. United States facing a presidential election year.

Jordan, who withdrew his nomination for president on Friday after his third loss in the House of Representatives, was one of the most prolific and vocal Republican lawmakers who worked to convince voters that the 2020 election was stolen from him. former president. donald trumpand assisted Trump in his efforts to overturn the election.

Along with several of his peers in the House Republican conference, Jordan refused to comply with a subpoena to testify from the House Select Committee that investigated the case. January 6th, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol. Throughout its investigation, the committee uncovered evidence that Jordan had materially relevant communications with Trump and others about activities related to January 6.

Jordan’s role in January 6 and his electoral denialism were not an organizing or central factor for the approximately two dozen Republicans who voted against his candidacy for president. But some Republican lawmakers, including some who supported Jordan’s candidacy, expressed concern about his continued refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory when asked by his peers this week.

Election denialism has remained a powerful but turbulent issue in the Republican Party, despite a disappointing midterm performance in 2022, when election-denying candidates suffered a series of high-profile losses.

Among the many legislators who said they would seek to fill Following the speaker’s vacancy on Friday, only Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) voted to certify the 2020 election. Reps. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Kevin Hern (R-Fla.), Mike Johnson ( R-La.) and Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) opposed certification. Some staff members who served on the House Select Committee that investigated Jan. 6 also drew parallels between the tactics used to fuel false allegations of voter fraud in 2020 and the pressure campaign waged this week against Jordanian defectors. .

The Republicans who stopped Jim Jordan from becoming speaker of the House of Representatives

During a conference meeting Monday night, when Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) asked Jordan if he believed Trump won the 2020 election, he declined to answer the question directly, according to lawmakers who were in the meeting behind closed doors. meeting.

“He answered the question as if it were February 1, 2021,” said one lawmaker, who spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal details of the private meeting. “It was disappointing to many members” that Jordan could not succinctly answer “a simple question,” the lawmaker added.

On Friday morning, during his last-minute news conference in which he vowed to press ahead with his nascent bid for president, Jordan again did not definitively say whether he believed the 2020 election was over.

I think there are all kinds of problems with the 2020 election; I have made it clear,” Jordan said without citing any evidence. Almost 90 different judges They have ruled against Trump and its allies in their efforts to challenge or overturn the 2020 presidential election, according to a Washington Post analysis.

“Jim, at some point, if you’re going to lead this conference through a presidential election cycle, and particularly a presidential election year with primaries and caucuses all over the country, you’re going to have to be strong and say, ‘Donald Trump is not going to win the election. ‘” Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) told reporters Monday.

House speaker race begins again for Republicans after unseating Jordan

Jordan amplified unfounded allegations of voter fraud in the run-up to and following the 2020 election. He also served as one of the key conduits, along with Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), from the GOP conference to the House White in Trump’s quest to reverse his defeat. Jordan spread baseless claims of voter fraud in conservative media, encouraged Trump not to concede the election, spoke at “Stop the Steal” rallies, and met with Trump campaign officials before Jan. 6, where they discussed social media tactics and the march to the Capitol.

Committee investigators also obtained White House records that showed Jordan spoke with Trump for 10 minutes on the morning of the Jan. 6 attack. Jordan has never revealed the content of his call.

Many fault lines have materialized in the House Republican conference since Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was ousted as speaker earlier this month, and four of Jordan’s detractors were also among those who objected. to certify that Biden won the 2020 election. But the majority of them voted for certify Biden’s victoryincluding Buck, and Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), John Rutherford (R-Fla.) and others.

These lawmakers have been the subject of credible violent threats and threatening phone calls, which some investigators and attorneys who served on the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack see as an extension of some of the tactics used to activate to the rioters who stormed the Capitol. . The threats, which only hardened opposition to Jordan, included disconcerting calls to employees, spouses and family members. Some members took additional security precautions, including Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), who requested that a sheriff be assigned at his daughter’s school.

Lisa Bianco, a former House staffer who worked for the Jan. 6 committee, said Jordan’s allies They were following the same playbook. used during “Stop the Steal” efforts in 2020, and noted that even some of the top organizers of the “Stop the Steal” rally were driving the pressure campaign against GOP holdouts.

“These groups broadcast messages through social media, imploring their followers to attend rallies in person, to fight and not back down, which ultimately ends in the assault on the Capitol,” Bianco said. “Jim Jordan worked with those groups in 2020, including speaking at rallies, and now continues to deploy those strategies by denying the validity of the 2020 election.”

Amy Kremer, co-founder of Women for Trump and a lead organizer of the rally that preceded the Jan. 6 insurrection, has been organizing “#JordanForSpeaker” rallies to attack anti-Jordan members in their district offices . Kremer, who has touted deep ties to members of Congress over the years, has also posted the phone numbers of several lawmakers’ offices on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, encouraging his supporters to call and express their support. to Jordan. Kremer aware Numbers from DC and Scalise’s district offices were released Friday morning, urging people to tell Scalise to “put the dogs aside and get your people behind Jordan.”

Jordan has reported the threats against Republicans who oppose his candidacy to become president. On Wednesday, Jordan attempted to quell the anger by posting on X: “No American should criticize another for their beliefs. We condemn all threats against our colleagues and it is imperative that we unite. Arrest. It is abominable.”

But Rutherford, the recipient of some of these threats, placed the blame for the toxic pressure campaign squarely on the Ohio lawmaker.

“He is absolutely responsible for this and look, it doesn’t work, especially against people like Steven.” [Womack (R-Ark.)] and others,” Rutherford said. “No one likes having their arm twisted. Talking about individuals’ wives and that sort of thing? “That is simply not acceptable.”

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), who chaired the Jan. 6 committee, said Jordan’s elevation to chairman-designate was a “sad commentary” on the state of Congress and the Republican Party.

“When you ignore the laws of the country, voting against a legitimate election, without any evidence to the contrary, and being president now, is not good for the country,” Thompson said this week. “Jordan was part of the obstruction of the committee’s work and I don’t see him changing colors.”


An earlier version of this article misidentified the party affiliation of Rep. Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi. He is a Democrat, not a Republican. The article has been corrected.

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