Eearly Friday morning, former President Donald Trump threw his support behind Rep. Jim Jordan in the race to become Speaker of the House. The endorsement was not entirely surprising given that Mr. Jordan, an Ohio congressman, was in the same lane in the House of Representatives as Mr. Trump as presidential candidate and president – as an expression of conservatives unhappy with Republican leadership and a candidate who channeled their rage.
A product of the Tea Party wave and founder of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, Mr. Jordan’s tenure in the House led to the ouster of former Speaker John Boehner, which paved the way for the downfall of Kevin McCarthy earlier this week, despite his unwavering support. for the speaker.
Additionally, as former chairman of the House Oversight Committee and now chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, he has vehemently defended Mr. Trump. Fast-talking, pugnacious and prone to inflammatory rhetoric that veers into outright lies, Mr. Jordan can often be seen wandering the halls of the House without wearing a suit jacket.
But he also played a significant role in Mr. Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and in spreading misinformation since then. He faced further scrutiny over whether he refused to report sexual abuse of wrestlers he coached at Ohio State University.
He now faces tough competition against House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, as Republicans seek to replace Mr. McCarthy while the Republican Party seeks to unify. But with a slim legislative record and much greater opposition to his colleagues, Mr. Jordan could face significant challenges.
Here’s a look at Mr. Jordan’s career.
How did it get there?
Prior to serving in Congress, Mr. Jordan attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he became a National Collegiate Athletics Association Division I wrestling champion. Shortly afterward, he earned a master’s degree from Ohio State University and a law degree from Capital University Law School, although he never took the bar exam and never practiced law , telling NPR in 2018, “I’m just a wannabe.”
He later served in both houses of the Ohio General Assembly before winning a seat in the U.S. Congress in 2006. Over the next few years, he became one of the loudest voices in the Tea Party movement that served as a backlash to Barack Obama’s presidency.
The “legislative terrorist”
Mr. Jordan has few legislative accomplishments, and he has criticized his own party’s leaders as often as he has criticized the Obama administration and Democrats. Rather than focusing on the work of government, he focused more on expressing his objections in the media.
After Republicans gained a majority in the House of Representatives, he declined a position on the House Appropriations Committee, which allocates money to various programs and has long been considered the most prestigious committee in the House . He instead chose to lead the Republican Study Committee, an ideologically conservative committee focused on advancing conservative policies.
In 2013, he and a handful of Tea Party conservatives joined forces with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in an effort to shut down the government if Congress did not defund the Affordable Care Act, also known as the name of Obamacare. This effort was never successful given that Democrats controlled the Senate at the time and Mr. Obama still occupied the White House. But it reinforced Mr. Jordan’s credentials as a conservative warrior.
In 2015, he became a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, serving as its first chair. Eventually, his colleague Mark Meadows, a North Carolina congressman who would become White House chief of staff, filed a motion to vacate the chair during John Boehner’s tenure as president. The vote never happened, but it was enough to end Mr. Boehner’s term. Mr. Boehner would later criticize his tactics. “Jordan was a terrorist as a lawmaker from his days in the Ohio House and Senate,” before calling him a “legislative terrorist.”
Climbing the ladder in the Trump era
Mr. Boehner’s ouster gave Mr. Jordan increased political clout. During Paul Ryan’s tenure, Mr. Jordan continued to criticize GOP leadership in the House. When Donald Trump became president, Mr. Jordan quickly became a fixture in conservative media outlets criticizing the “deep state”’s attempts to undermine Mr. Trump.
On the House Judiciary Committee, Mr. Jordan was a leading apologist during Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial, aggressively questioning witnesses who alleged that Mr. Trump sought to have the president Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky is investigating Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, in exchange for aid to Ukraine as a means to help him get re-elected.
When Mr. Meadows left the House to become White House chief of staff, Mr. Jordan became chairman of the Oversight Committee before resigning that post to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
When Mr. Ryan left the presidency in 2019, he became a trusted ally of then-Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. He also became a welcome fixture at the White House and led efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. On November 5, 2020, he participated in a “Stop the Steal” rally in the Capitol. Pennsylvania State, Harrisburg.
The House select committee that investigated the January 6 riots found that on December 21, 2020, Mr. Jordan and a handful of House Republicans met with Mr. Trump to discuss efforts to object to the results election and that Mr. Trump organized the event to “spread his false claims.” and to encourage members of the public to fight against the January 6 result.” He also admitted to speaking with Mr. Trump on the day of the January 6 riot.
In 2021, when the House organized the special committee to investigate January 6, Mr. McCarthy selected Mr. Jordan and Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), two allies of Mr. Trump, as two of his five selections for the commission. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected Mr. Banks and Mr. Jordan, leading Mr. McCarthy to withdraw the rest of his members.
Over time, Mr. McCarthy continued to promote him, having him head a federal government subcommittee on “armament.” Earlier this year, when many of Mr. McCarthy’s critics chose to support him, he encouraged them to support Mr. McCarthy, saying: “I think Kevin McCarthy is the right person to lead us.” It really is, otherwise I wouldn’t be here to abandon this speech.
In turn, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who nominated Mr. Jordan, said his speech made him the right candidate to lead the House, adding: “Maybe the right person for the job of Speaker of the House is not someone. who wants it so much.
When Mr. Gaetz filed a motion to quash this week, Mr. Jordan voted against it.
The State of Ohio Charges
In addition to being a right-wing firebrand, Mr. Jordan has been the subject of serious allegations since his time as the wrestling coach at Ohio State University. In 2018, former athletes he coached at the university told NBC News that Mr. Jordan failed to stop the team doctor, Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, from sexually assaulting them . Mr. Jordan has denied the allegations, saying he was unaware of the abuse when he was coach from 1986 to 1994. Dunyasha Yetts said she spoke to Mr. Jordan about the abuse, saying: “For the For God’s sake, Strauss’ locker was right next to Jordan’s and Jordan even said he would kill him if he tried anything with him. The New York Times later reported that Mr. Jordan called the parents of Mark Coleman, one of the athletes he coached, and asked him to change his story.