House Speaker candidates will no longer appear in TV interview

Ohio Rep Jim Jordan, Louisiana Rep Steve Scalise and Oklahoma Rep Kevin Hern were set to participate in the event

Kelly Rissman
Friday 06 October 2023 13:48 EDT
Kevin McCarthy ignores questions after being removed as House Speaker

Fox News will no longer be airing a “joint interview” among House Republicans competing to be the next House speaker after two participants dropped out of the forum, according to reports.

Earlier on Friday, Fox News confirmed that the programme would be broadcast on Monday at 6pm ET and hosted by anchor Bret Baier. The House members who would be in attendance were Ohio Rep Jim Jordan, Louisiana Rep Steve Scalise, and Oklahoma Rep Kevin Hern. However, reports are circulating that some House speaker candidates will not be participating, leading to the forum being called off.

Mr Hern posted on X on Friday afternoon explaining his decision: “I still haven’t made a decision on my candidacy for speaker, but I know one thing for sure. I will not be participating in the televised debate. We need to make this decision as a conference, not on TV. The Republican conference needs a family discussion.”

Reporters for CNN and Punchbowl News similarly wrote that the forum had been cancelled, adding that Mr Scalise would also not be participating. When The Independent reached out to Fox News, a spokesperson said that Baier would discuss the forum on the network, but did not confirm the reports.

“Baier will press the congressmen on who should be the next Speaker of the House and discuss the issues facing Congress and the Republican party going forward,” the network’s release said earlier on Friday. The interview would have come before Republicans plan to have a private forum on Tuesday where candidates can talk to their colleagues before a vote the next day.

The trio are vying for the post after Florida Rep Matt Gaetz forced a vote to strip Kevin McCarthy of his post following the Republican-controlled chamber passing a resolution to fund the federal government, thus dodging a shutdown.

The successful motion to vacate Rep McCarthy was historic, as it was the first time in US history that a speaker has been removed by the House.

After the vote determined his fate, Mr McCarthy said he would not run again for the speakership, leaving the question of who would replace him swirling around the Capitol and beyond.

After Mr Jordan jumped into the race he was quickly endorsed by former President Donald Trump, who called the Ohio Republican a “star” on Truth Social, adding, “He will be a GREAT Speaker of the House, & has my Complete & Total Endorsement!” Kentucky Sen Rand Paul also endorsed Mr Jordan.

Meanwhile, former Republican Rep Liz Cheney voiced her opposition to Mr Jordan, warning: “If the Republicans decide that Jim Jordan should be the Speaker of the House ... [t]here would no longer be any possible way to argue that a group of elected Republicans could be counted on to defend the Constitution.”

In a letter to colleagues, Mr Scalise said: “It is with that sense of responsibility and purpose that I am seeking the Conference’s nomination for Speaker of the House. You know my leadership style I’ve displayed as your Majority Leader and Whip. I have a proven track record of bringing together the diverse array of viewpoints within our Conference to build consensus where others thought it impossible.”

Earlier, Mr Gaetz voiced support for the Louisiana congressman, saying, “I think the world of Steve Scalise, I think he’d make a phenomenal speaker,” he said.

Some Republicans, such as far-right Georgia Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, have floated the idea that Mr Trump could take the post, writing on X: “The only candidate for Speaker I am currently supporting is President Donald J. Trump. He will end the war in Ukraine. He will secure the border.”

On Thursday, Mr Trump indicated on Fox News that he would serve temporarily as speaker if Republicans need him. “If they don’t get the vote, they have asked me if I would consider taking the speakership until they get somebody longer-term, because I am running for president,” the 2024 Republican frontrunner said. However, since he faces several indictments, it is unlikely that the former president would be allowed to serve in the role.

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