The Louisiana representative beat Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan in a 113-99 secret ballot at the GOP conference on Wednesday to be next in line to replace Kevin McCarthy as House speaker following McCarthy’s historic ousting.
The ballot suggests that Scalise is still way off from the 217 House votes he will need in order to get elected as the next House speaker.
There are around a dozen House Republicans who said they will support Jordan for the House speaker role or who have not yet been convinced to back Scalise, setting up another potentially chaotic path to choose a new House speaker following the 15 rounds of voting McCarthy needed in January to clinch the role.
Though Scalise is a loyal Trump supporter, the former president instead backed Jordan for the position, writing in a Truth Social post the Ohio lawmaker “will be a GREAT Speaker of the House, & has my Complete & Total Endorsement!”
Below, Newsweek has compiled some of the comments Scalise has made regarding Trump in recent years.
In a January 12, 2021, opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal about the Capitol riot six days earlier, Scalise said that Trump “should have denounced the attack unequivocally as it was taking place” but stopped short of blaming the former president for the violence.
“I reject the notion that Wednesday’s actions were a mostly peaceful protest or that antifa infiltrators led the mob into the Capitol. I also reject the notion that the mob’s actions accurately represent the motivations of the millions of Americans who voted for President Trump or the Republican Party,” Scalise added. “We have to be rational and honest while holding ourselves and others accountable.”
Scalise was one of 147 Republican lawmakers who voted to overturn Trump’s election loss just hours after the Capitol riot.
Trump’s Criminal Charges
In August 2023, as Trump was due to be charged under Special Counsel Jack Smith‘s federal investigation into the events leading up to the January 6 attack, Scalise posted on X: “Let’s be clear about what’s happening: Biden’s DOJ is cutting sweetheart deals for Hunter to cover for the Biden Family’s influence peddling schemes while at the same time trying to persecute his leading political opponent. It’s an outrageous abuse of power.”
Scalise also hit out at Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in August after her office indicted Trump and 18 others under her RICO election interference probe.
“Willis is actually raising money off of the idea of going after Trump. It’s on her website. She literally put up on her website—a few days ago—a headline that, among other things, bragged that she was going after the former president and using that to raise money which undermines all the credibility,” Scalise said in August on The Mark Levin Show. “People see through this, but they’re disgusted by it, Mark.”
Scalise also suggested that the federal charges against Trump are “retribution” from the Biden administration and an attempt to hinder Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign.
“They hate Donald Trump for a lot of reasons and they sure don’t want him to come back and they’re doing everything to stop him. And it’s, frankly, galvanizing people more towards Trump right now,” the congressman said.
“There was a box that was shown with all these documents spewn out…It wasn’t anything classified; it was newspaper clippings and some personal items presented to try to give the impression that there’s all these classified documents just laying around on the floor,” Scalise told reporters.
“Yet you contrast that with Joe Biden‘s garage where there were classified documents going back to when he was a United States senator.”
In an October 2021 interview, Scalise repeatedly refused to say whether Biden had fairly beaten Trump at the last election, despite there being no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
“I’ve been very clear from the beginning,” he told Fox News. “If you look at a number of states, they didn’t follow their state-passed laws that govern the election for president. That is what the United States Constitution says. They don’t say the states determine what the rules are. They say the state legislatures determine the rules.”
Trump’s 2024 Campaign
Scalise has not officially endorsed Trump in his latest White House bid, telling ABC News’ This Week in April that he has not made a decision yet in the GOP primary. Trump is the current frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination according to multiple polls.
“You’re going to know what my announcement is going to be in time. I’ve been focusing on our house agenda, and we’ve been moving a really strong agenda for the American people. That’s what families want,” Scalise said.