By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for the next speaker of the House when lawmakers return to the Capitol next week.
Mr. Jordan, head of the House Judiciary Committee and founder of the House Freedom Caucus, is considered to be the favorite by several House Republicans who spoke on background, The Epoch Times previously reported. He was the first to officially announce his intention to succeed Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
President Trump showered praise on the Ohio congressman in a post on his social media platform Truth Social in the early hours of Friday.
“Congressman Jim Jordan has been a STAR long before making his very successful journey to Washington, D.C., representing Ohio’s 4th Congressional District. Respected by all, he is now Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. As President, I had the honor of presenting Jim with our Country’s highest civilian award, The Presidential Medal of Freedom. So much is learned from sports, and Jim was a master!” the former president wrote.
He continued: “While attending Graham High School, [Mr. Jordan] won State Championships all four years, a rarity, and compiled an amazing 156-1 record. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jim became a two-time NCAA Division l Wrestling Champion. He won his 1985-86 NCAA Championship Matches in his weight class. Jim has a masters degree in Education from Ohio State University & a Law Degree from Capital University.
“He 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!”
Mr. Jordan and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) are the two leading contenders for the speaker role, each seeking the essential 218 votes required.
President Trump’s support for Mr. Jordan was first flagged by Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) late Thursday.
“Just had a great conversation with President Trump about the Speaker’s race,” Mr. Nehls said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “He is endorsing Jim Jordan, and I believe Congress should listen to the leader of our party. I fully support Jim Jordan for Speaker of the House.”
Mr. Nehls had earlier encouraged the former president to run for the post. In an interview later with The Associated Press, Mr. Nehls said that after President Trump considered the matter further, he said he “really is in favor of getting behind Jim Jordan.”
Earlier on Thursday, President Trump said he would consider being House speaker, but only if necessary and for a short time. He told Fox News Digital: “I have been asked to speak as a unifier because I have so many friends in Congress. If they don’t get the vote, they have asked me if I would consider taking the speakership until they get somebody longer term because I am running for president.
“I’m not doing it because I want to,” he added. “I will do it if necessary, should they not be able to make their decision.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was ousted as speaker of the House on Oct. 3, marking the first time in history that Congress’s lower chamber voted to unseat its speaker.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) had rallied just seven Republicans to join him as he relied on Democrats to oust Mr. McCarthy. A motion to have Mr. McCarthy vacate the chair passed 216–210, with the eight Republicans joining 208 Democrats voting in favor.
Mr. McCarthy announced that he wouldn’t run for speaker again and said he is undecided about whether he will remain in Congress. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) has been named as speaker pro tempore until a replacement is voted in.
Mr. Nehls said that if no current candidate succeeds in earning the support needed to win, he would once again push for President Trump for the speaker position. “Our conference is divided. Our country is broken. I don’t know who can get to 218,” he said.
President Trump earlier told Fox News Digital that he planned to visit Washington on Tuesday to speak with House Republicans as they consider the next speaker.
But Mr. Nehls said that it was unlikely President Trump would make the trip following the endorsement for Mr. Jordan.
The congressman has been a significant ally of President Trump on the Hill, and has spearheaded investigations into prosecutors who have charged the former president. He was also among a number of Republicans who worked with President Trump to challenge his election loss before Jan. 6, 2021.
Mr. Scalise has also worked closely with President Trump over the years.
The House is in recess until Oct. 10. A candidate forum is scheduled for that day, with the speaker election set for Oct. 11.
Jackson Richman, Lawrence Wilson, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.