Trump’s Role in Speaker Selection Poses Potential Risks
Ex-President Trump has actively involved himself in the division within the House GOP, taking a stand on the choice of the next Speaker. This could impact his standing as the leading contender for the 2024 Republican nomination.
Trump voiced his support for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) after the removal of Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the Speaker role. If successful, this would promote a close ally of Trump to a key House position, reinforcing Trump’s influential role within the GOP.
Additionally, Trump is considering addressing the GOP conference in the House, potentially urging members to support his Speaker pick.
There’s some uncertainty about whether Trump wanted his support for Jordan to become public knowledge.
Jordan is up against notable competition, including Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.). Trump’s influence might suffer if his favored candidate doesn’t gain the party’s support. As Sarah Matthews, an ex-Trump White House staffer, points out, it would reflect poorly on Trump if his public endorsement doesn’t bear fruit.
There was some confusion when Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas), who once touted Trump as a possible Speaker, revealed Trump’s inclination to support Jordan. This revelation seemed to solidify Trump’s public endorsement of Jordan, even when Jordan’s pathway to the Speaker’s role remained uncertain.
Some say the public revelation didn’t matter much, but there remains a risk to Trump if the GOP doesn’t unite behind Jordan. It’s uncertain whether Trump’s endorsement will sway Republicans from districts won by President Biden in 2020 or if it would make Jordan’s path to the Speakership smoother.
The Democratic National Committee sees Trump’s involvement in the Speaker discussion as evidence of his continued dominance over House GOP matters.
While Scalise, another Trump supporter, is a significant contender for the Speaker role, some believe Trump’s endorsement won’t guarantee Jordan the position.
Jordan’s loyalty to Trump has been evident, particularly during Trump’s two impeachment proceedings. Trump recognized Jordan’s support by awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2021.
Post-Trump’s presidency, Jordan has consistently criticized the Biden administration, mirroring Trump’s sentiments that probes into his affairs are driven by political bias.
Sarah Matthews believes Trump’s endorsement could bolster Jordan’s chances, especially given Trump’s current lead in the GOP. If Jordan is successful, it would be another feather in Trump’s cap, strengthening his status as the GOP’s central figure.
Trump’s influence is clear from the significant endorsements he has from House GOP members, which surpasses those of his closest competitor, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
If Jordan does become Speaker, it would mean a Trump sympathizer would helm the House, especially crucial when Republicans are contemplating an impeachment of Biden and deliberating on various funding matters of interest to Trump.
Several insiders believe Trump never genuinely contemplated the Speakership, as gaining sufficient votes would be challenging. Yet, his involvement underscores his knack for capturing media attention.
Chris Christie, one of Trump’s possible 2024 competitors, commented on CNN, suggesting a Trump Speakership would merely be another feather in his cap, allowing him to revel in the spotlight.