Trump seeks to exert power in speaker race

Donald Trump's endorsement of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to be the next speaker underscores the former president’s continued efforts to wield influence over congressional Republicans as he seeks a White House return.

Trump threw his support behind Jordan early Friday morning, choosing to back a staunch ally and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who is helping lead the GOP impeachment effort against President Biden. 

The former president released a lengthy statement on social media touting Jordan’s prior college wrestling career and lauding him as “a STAR long before making his very successful journey to Washington, D.C.” 

Jordan is facing off against Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) for a chance to succeed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who was ousted this week. 

Members are already lining up behind either Scalise (McCarthy’s longtime top deputy) or Jordan (a conservative firebrand and Freedom Caucus founder). Another member, Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), who chairs the Republican Study Committee, has floated a bid but has not officially entered the race. Republicans will gather early next week for a “candidate forum.” 

Flashback (to the not-so-distant past): Trump urged Republicans to back McCarthy in January.

That didn’t stop a group of Republicans, including Trump supporters, from nominating alternatives — including Trump himself — in the 15-round election.

One of the first McCarthy alternatives nominated was Jordan, who himself urged his colleagues to back McCarthy.

Five of the eight Republicans who joined Democrats to oust McCarthy this week cast speaker votes for Jordan in January (Reps. Andy Biggs, Eli Crane, Matt Gaetz, Bob Good and Matt Rosendale). 

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