Who is Jim Jordan? The Trump ally and disgraced wrestling coach fighting to be House speaker

Jim Jordan plans to ‘keep going’ in his fight for House speaker, but will his murky past catch up with him? Here’s everything you need to know…

Jim Jordan Donald Trump ally House speaker scandal
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Jim Jordan Donald Trump ally House speaker scandal

Jim Jordan has been making headlines as the Republican tried, and failed, to replace Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker. The Speaker of the House in the US is the presiding officer of the House of Representatives, and is third in the presidential line of succession. McCarthy was ousted from the role earlier this month in a right-wing revolt and, without a speaker, the House is unable to pass any bills or approve White House requests for emergency aid.

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Jordan has served in the House since 2007 and has held several positions of responsibility. He is currently chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Jordan earned 200 votes in the first ballot on Tuesday but, as he needed 217 to secure the HouseSpeaker role, that wasn’t enough. He remains positive, and has told reporters, ‘We're gonna keep going’. But what do we know about this Republican and his murky past...

Jordan is a Trump ally

Jordan has been a longtime supporter of Donald Trump, who is currently facing a partial gag order and struggling to stick to it. Jordan’s close relationship to Trump may see him caught up in scandal. The now-defunct House Jan. 6 committee stated in its final report:

Representative Jordan was a significant player in President Trump’s efforts. He participated in numerous post-election meetings in which senior White House officials, Rudolph Giuliani, and others, discussed strategies for challenging the election, chief among them claims that the election had been tainted by fraud.

According to the same report, Jordan spoke to Trump on the phone ‘at least twice’ on 6 January. However, Jordan has reportedly given inconsistent statements about how many times he talked to the former president and what exactly they discussed.

Former US Rep. Liz Cheney - whose role as vice chair of the House Jan. 6 committee investigating Trump’s attempts to undermine the 2020 election made her an outcast and effectively ended her career in Congress - wrote on X:

Jim Jordan was involved in Trump's conspiracy to steal the election and seize power; he urged that Pence refuse to count lawful electoral votes
If [Republicans] nominate Jordan to be Speaker, they will be abandoning the Constitution. They'll lose the House majority and they'll deserve to.

Disgraced college wrestling coach

Jordan used to have a very different job: from 1986 - 1994 he coached wrestling at Ohio State University. However, his name was dragged through the mud in 2018 and when several wrestlers accused him of having failed to pick up on something that went on over his years as the uni’s assistant coach. The team’s doctor had been molesting wrestlers and other students, and Jordan either didn’t notice or didn’t say anything.

The would-be Speaker has insisted that he had no knowledge of this until former students started to come forward, but four of the former wrestlers have stepped up to say that he shouldn’t get the position.

Mike Schyck is one of the hundreds of former students who have accused school doctor Richard Strauss of abuse and have gone on to sue the university. Schyck told NBC News that Jordan wasn’t the right person for the role:
Do you really want a guy in that job who chose not to stand up for his guys?
Is that the kind of character trait you want for a House speaker?

So, though Jordan seems resolute on trying again for House speaker it appears that he might, just like his close friend Trump, have a bumpy road ahead of him.

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Sources used:

NBC News: 5 things to know about Jim Jordan and his bid to be House speaker

BBC: House speakership up in air as resistance to Jim Jordan hardens

Dartmouth: Former Rep. Liz Cheney to Speak on Defending Democracy

ABC News: What to know about Jim Jordan's role in Jan. 6

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