Bannon, a former White House chief strategist in the Trump administration, was responding to reports that Fox News‘ Sean Hannity program has been emailing GOP lawmakers to ask them directly why they are not supporting Jordan for the speaker’s role following his nomination for the candidacy by the party, while outlining the need to urgently fill the position.
On Friday, Jordan was elected by the GOP to be their nomination to become the new House Speaker following Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s removal from the position in a 216-210 vote on October 3.
However, just like the previous candidate put forward by the GOP, House Majority Speaker Stave Scalise, it appears Jordan doesn’t have enough support within the party to get a simple 217 vote majority on the House floor.
The email, shared on social media by Axios reporter Juliegrace Brufke, is allegedly being sent to House Republicans who are not backing Jordan to replace McCarthy following his historic ousting earlier this month.
Brufke posted the contents of the email on X, formerly Twitter, while claiming some moderate Republicans are “growing increasingly irritated” with allies of Jordan trying to “pressure them” into voting for him. She also claimed that Hannity’s show “has gotten involved in the efforts” to elect the MAGA congressman who has also been endorsed by Trump to House Speaker. Newsweek was not able to immediately verify the veracity of the alleged email to Republicans.
While sharing Brufke’s post, NBC‘s senior national politics reporter Sahil Kapur wrote: “This is where the rubber meets the road. Jim Jordan’s allies are betting his opponents buckle when he puts them on record and conservative media lights them up. Trump is with Jordan, creating an added specter of retribution. Will come down to whether 5+ ‘Never Jim’ Rs hold firm.”
In a response on social media site Gettr, Bannon said: “That’s The Plan: Public Votes to Break The Cartel.”
In a follow-up statement, Bannon told Newsweek: “We intend to break the old bulls in front of the nation.”
Washington Post Live anchor Leigh Ann Caldwell said she is also aware of the email, posting on X: “One member said Hannity reached out directly with this same message—that the war in Israel is a reason to get behind Jordan. Member told me it’s not going to persuade them.”
The five “Never Jim” votes mentioned by Kapur is referencing how Jordan cannot afford to lose the support of just five House Republicans in a ballot for House Speaker, due to the GOP’s slight 221-212 majority in the lower chamber.
Following his nomination, a second secret House ballot was held on Friday which revealed a 152-55 split in support for Jordan as speaker. Jordan is said to have spent the weekend attempting to garner endorsements from his own party in order to achieve the almost unanimous GOP support to get elected House Speaker without the need of assistance from the Democrats.
When asked by NBC if there are five “Never Jordan” votes on Thursday, New York GOP Rep. Nicole Malliotakis replied: “There’s probably five ‘Never Everybodys’—that’s the problem.”
The email which is alleged to have been sent from Hannity’s team to some GOP lawmakers reads: “Sources tell Hannity that rep xxxx is not supporting Rep Jim Jordan for Speaker. Can you please let me know if this is accurate?
“And, if true, Hannity would like to know why during a war breaking out between Israel and Hamas, with the war in Ukraine, with the wide open borders, with a budget that’s unfinished why would Rep. xxxx be against Jim Jordan for speaker? Please let us know when Rep xxx plans on opening the People’s House so work can be done. Lastly, are there any conditions Rep xxxx will work with Democrats on the process of electing a new speaker?”
Fox News is now being criticized for the alleged attempt to influence the House vote and get the candidate the former president has endorsed elected to the speaker role.
“So at the lowbrow entertainment network that paid a $787.5 million settlement for parroting lies crafted to overturn the Constitution, producers openly campaign in support of a coup-plotting legislator’s bid for the insurrectionist party’s leadership,” posted lawyer and frequent Trump critic George Conway. “How deeply runs the rot.”
George Corn, Mother Jones‘ Washington bureau chief, added: “More evidence Fox is a political/propaganda operation, not a journalistic entity. In case you needed more evidence the sun rises in the East.”
Newsweek has contacted Fox News for comment via email.
Update 10/16/2023 9:46 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with comment from Steve Bannon.