Former President Donald Trump has dashed MAGA hopes of him becoming speaker of the House by purportedly endorsing a close GOP ally to lead the chamber instead.
Trump plans to back Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio’s bid for speaker, Representative Troy Nehls of Texas said in a Thursday night post to X, formerly Twitter. Nehls announced earlier this week that he was planning to nominate Trump for speaker as his “first order of business” when the chamber reconvened following the removal of California Representative Kevin McCarthy from the role.
Nehls and Jordan were among the majority of Republicans who voted against Representative Matt Gaetz‘s successful effort to remove McCarthy from speakership. Seven Republicans joined Gaetz and all Democrats in attendance to oust the former speaker in a 216-210 vote on Tuesday. Nehls on Thursday night urged Republicans to back Jordan for the job with Trump’s backing.
“Just had a great conversation with President Trump about the Speaker’s race,” wrote Nehls. “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.”
Neither Trump nor Jordan had directly addressed the purported endorsement at the time of publication. Newsweek reached out for comment to Trump’s office via email on Thursday night.
Jordan wrote that it was “time for our Republican conference to come together” when announcing his bid for speaker in a letter posted to X on Wednesday morning. A number of hard-right Trump loyalists, including Gaetz, immediately rallied behind the prospect of Jordan’s speakership.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise has also announced a bid for speaker, while Congressman Kevin Hern has said that he is “entertaining” the idea. Trump suggested that he would be willing to temporarily take on the role hours before his apparent endorsement of Jordan.
Trump told Fox News Digital that he would be willing to “do it if necessary” but only “for a short period of time for the party, until they come to a conclusion.” News that Trump might be willing to become speaker inspired a wave of excitement in MAGA world, including among some of his supporters in Congress.
Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, also a Trump loyalist, announced her endorsement of Jordan shortly after news of Trump’s purported backing emerged.
“I’m proud to endorse my friend, @Jim_Jordan, for Speaker of the House!” Boebert wrote in a post to X. “Jim is a trusted conservative who I believe will unify our conference, pass individual appropriations bills, secure our borders, put an end to Ukraine funding, and hold the corrupt Biden administration accountable.”
“I’m also certain his leadership will help us expand our House majority in 2024 so we can be ready to help implement President Trump’s Agenda 47 on day one,” she added. “There’s a lot of work ahead – let’s get to it!”
Trump critic and former GOP Congresswoman Liz Cheney warned that Jordan’s ascension to speaker could effectively end the Republican Party in a speech at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday, asserting that “there would no longer be any possible way to argue that a group of elected Republicans could be counted on to defend the Constitution.”