WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump will endorse Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, for speaker of the House, a GOP lawmaker said Thursday evening, in what could be a significant shake up for the competitive race to determine who should succeed ousted former speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
“Just had a great conversation with President Trump about the Speaker’s race. He is endorsing Jim Jordan, and I believe Congress should listen to the leader of our party,” Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “I fully support Jim Jordan for Speaker of the House.”
A handful of GOP lawmakers, mostly comprised of conservative hardliners, removed McCarthy as speaker on Tuesday, leaving the lower chamber paralyzed as House Republicans scramble to find a new leader. The House cannot conduct important business, such as passing the spending bills needed to avoid a government shutdown, without an official leader.
Nehls, a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus – a bloc of the House’s hardest-right lawmakers – previously expressed support for Trump to serve as speaker before announcing that the former president was backing Jordan.
The Constitution does not specify that a speaker has to be a member of the House. Every speaker in American history, however, has been a House lawmaker.
Jordan is currently serving as chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee. The only other declared candidate in the race so far is House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La.
Trump said Thursday he would accept the speaker of the House job on a short-term basis if Republicans deadlock selecting a new one.
“They have asked me if I would consider taking the speakership until they get somebody longer-term, because I am running for president,” Trump told Fox News Digital.
Contributing: Sudiksha Kochi and David Jackson, USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump to back Jim Jordan for House speaker, GOP lawmaker says