June 25, 2024

The former president backs House Judiciary Committee chairman for the key position after removal of Kevin McCarthy.

Former US President Donald Trump has endorsed Congressman Jim Jordan to replace overthrown US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as the chamber’s fractious Republicans try to unify in the aftermath of McCarthy’s historic fall.

“He [Jordan] is STRONG on Crime, Borders, our Military/Vets, & 2nd Amendment. Jim, his wife, Polly, & family are outstanding – He will be a GREAT Speaker of the House, & has my Complete & Total Endorsement!” Trump said in a post on his Truth Social app on Friday.

The announcement came hours after Texas Republican Troy Nehls said on Thursday night that Trump had decided to back Jordan’s bid.

Two Republican lawmakers are campaigning for the speakership: Representative Steve Scalise, who was second to McCarthy on the leadership ladder, and Jordan, an outspoken conservative from Ohio who has led investigations into President Joe Biden’s administration.

Republicans, who control the House of Representatives by a narrow 221-212 margin, are due to hold a closed-door forum for candidates seeking the speakership on Tuesday, a meeting that the former Republican president said he could attend.

A vote is expected the next day.

However, acrimony and resentment over McCarthy’s removal could make nominating a new speaker a challenge for House Republicans.

Trump’s candidacy

The Truth Social app post follows earlier reports that Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden, might agree to replace McCarthy for a short time.

Trump said he would be open to serving as interim leader himself if Republicans could not settle on a name, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Although House rules do not require the speaker to be a member of Congress, Trump already has a lot on his plate as he faces four upcoming criminal trials, two related to his attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

House Republican rules prohibit a speaker who is under felony indictment.

Trump spent much of the start of the week in New York, where his civil fraud trial was getting under way, with the former reality TV star drawing the spotlight over repeated verbal attacks on the US legal system, drawing a gag order from the judge.

Trump’s pull with House Republicans has been tested at times this year.

Republicans initially did not respond to Trump’s call to elect McCarthy as speaker, waiting three days before doing so and subjecting McCarthy to 15 rounds of voting.

Trump has been indicted on 91 felony counts in four separate criminal cases including two that accuse him of illegally trying to subvert his 2020 presidential election loss.

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