Factbox-Trump backs Jim Jordan for US speaker role, faces Steve Scalise challenge

(Reuters) -Donald Trump endorsed Representative Jim Jordan to succeed ousted U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the former president said on Friday, as the chamber’s fractious Republicans sought to unify in the aftermath of McCarthy’s historic fall.

Jordan faces a challenge from Representative Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican long considered to be McCarthy’s heir apparent.


Representative Jim Jordan, long a Trump ally, was nominated by some Republican rebels to be speaker during the election to the seat in January. He received 20 votes during one round of voting. He had also challenged McCarthy in a race for minority leader in 2018.

Jordan, who represents a district in Ohio, is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, one of three panels at the center of an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. A firebrand, Jordan publicly sparred with Democrats over their investigations into then-President Trump.

In a letter to colleagues, the former college wrestling coach called for unifying the caucus, writing: “We can focus on the changes that improve the country and unite us in offering real solutions.”

Wrestlers coached by Jordan said he was aware the team doctor was molesting them. He has denied it.


Representative Matt Gaetz, the lawmaker who spearheaded the push to oust McCarthy, has said he would support Steve Scalise taking over the role. Scalise announced his candidacy in a letter to colleagues.

The Louisiana lawmaker was severely injured in a shooting during practice for a charity baseball game in 2017. He may face questions from the caucus about his health, as he announced in August he was in treatment for multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer.

Scalise drew criticism for a speech he made in 2002 to a white supremacist group tied to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Scalise has said it was a mistake and he regretted it.


Kevin Hern is chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative Republicans. He has told reporters that several lawmakers have approached him to consider running and has suggested that he would be open to it.

However, the lawmaker from Oklahoma could have trouble attracting support from moderates.


Representative Patrick McHenry was named to step in as speaker pro tempore following McCarthy’s ouster. Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, McHenry is a McCarthy ally who spoke in support of McCarthy before the ouster vote.

McHenry, a lawmaker from North Carolina, has said he does not want the job, but supporters may push him toward it if other candidates lose support.

(Compiled by Makini Brice; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)