WASHINGTON — Rep. Jim Jordan said Thursday that he has spoken about his bid to be the next speaker with Donald Trump and that he would not support ousting Rep. Matt Gaetz from the Republican caucus even amid anger by some lawmakers after he led Kevin McCarthy’s removal.
“I talked to the president about this and all kinds of issues,” Jordan, a staunch ally of the former president, said in an interview with NBC News on Thursday. Asked if Trump supports his bid for speaker, Jordan said: “I don’t want to say anything, but I had a great conversation with the president.”
Jordan also said he would not support efforts to oust Gaetz from the Republican Conference, a possibility that has been floated by House members who are angry that the Florida lawmaker worked to remove McCarthy from the speaker post.
“I don’t think that’s warranted,” Jordan said. “We’ve got a four-seat majority, Matt’s a talented member of Congress.” Jordan added, “I disagree with what he did … but he’s a great member of our committee … I think we gotta come together.”
Asked whether one member should be able to make a motion to remove a speaker — the rule that was used to get McCarthy out of the leadership role in a historic vote this week — Jordan demurred on the importance of changing it.
“That’s a conference decision,” he said. “But I’ll tell you what, if that’s what the conference wants to do, then I would support it.”
Procedurally, Jordan pointed out, changing House rules would need a majority vote. “The question comes is, you’ve got to have all of us on board for that … I wouldn’t go to Democrats and get votes because they’re gonna want something.”
Without changing that rule, though, any future speaker could be in the same peril as McCarthy faced. “I’d be fine with that, if that’s where the conference is,” Jordan concluded.
Jordan has been a steadfast ally of McCarthy. He’s also one of the leading GOP lawmakers on the impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden, as well as investigations of the president’s family and administration. Despite that tense background, Jordan posited that he and Biden could have a working relationship — whether trust or good faith were there or not.
“If I get the votes and get the privilege of being speaker, that’s how it works in our system,” he said. “We’ll deal with them, they’ll deal with us. That’s how it works.”
Another critical relationship for the would-be speaker is the one he has with his Senate GOP counterpart, Mitch McConnell. Jordan called the relationship they have “fine” and “good.” Asked about the differences between Jordan and McConnell on the issue of future funding for the war in Ukraine — Jordan is against it and McConnell adamantly for it — Jordan argued his position “is the position where the American people are.”
As for Jordan’s successor leading the impeachment inquiry and the Judiciary Committee, he cited “many capable people” who could take over.
Ali Vitali is a Capitol Hill correspondent for NBC News, based in Washington.
Kyle Stewart is an associate producer covering Congress for NBC News.