U.S. President Joe Biden responded briefly to a reporter’s question about the unsuccessful effort of his frequent critic, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, to become the next Speaker of the House.
Jordan, founding chairman of the far-right Freedom Caucus and current chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has been a vocal critic of the Biden administration, serving as a lead in the GOP impeachment inquiry. Jordan, a prominent ally of former President Donald Trump who was supported in his gavel bid by the MAGA leader, was unable to garner enough support from the House Republican Party.
The Democratic president took questions from reporters Wednesday during his flight back from Tel Aviv, where he was asked for his opinion on Jordan’s candidacy for president.
“Do you have any idea of the current predicament of Jim Jordan being unable to secure the presidency,” a reporter asked Biden.
“I feel bad for him,” Biden responded, drawing laughter from reporters on board the flight, before adding: “No. Zero. None.”
A video of the president’s concise response was shared by MSNBC on X, formerly Twitter.
Republicans are scrambling to choose the next House leader after hard-line conservatives led a successful bid to dump former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in favor of a short-term government funding deal that he negotiated with Democrats to avoid a possible government shutdown. The leadership shake-up has thrown the House of Representatives into chaos as the United States faces pressure to support its warring allies Israel and Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Jordan, an Ohio Republican, failed to gain enough support for a second time in his effort to become the next House speaker. Jordan received only 199 votes, compared to 22 Republicans, two more than in his first failed vote on Tuesday. All 212 House Democrats were united in voting for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries in both votes.
News week contacted representatives for Biden and Jordan via email Wednesday for comment.
Jordan is the second Republican choice to replace McCarthy, who was removed from office in an unprecedented vacancy motion filed by Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz earlier this month. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise withdrew his nomination last week after failing to garner enough support.
However, there is little evidence that Jordan can muster the support needed to secure the 217 votes required to become president. He was defeated a second time on Wednesday, by 18 votes.
With the House narrowly divided between 221 Republicans and 212 Democrats, Jordan stands to lose only five Republican votes, with no Democrats having expressed willingness to cross the aisle to support the MAGA ally.
Despite these two failed attempts, Jordan said a third vote on his candidacy for president was scheduled for Thursday at noon. The Ohio Republican has consistently expressed confidence, telling CNN he believes he can still win the gavel.