Biden torches Jim Jordan over his two failed House speaker bids: ‘I ache for him’

A third vote for the House speaker role is due to take place on Thursday

Mike Bedigan,Eric Garcia
Thursday 19 October 2023 12:02 EDT
'I ache for him': Biden laughs when asked about Jim Jordan's speakership votes predicament

President Joe Biden gave a sarcastic response when he was asked about the current predicament facing the GOP’s beleaguered House Speaker nominee Jim Jordan.

A third round of voting for speakership is due to take place on Thursday, after the Ohio Republican fell short of the required number of votes needed to take the gavel for a second time.

On Wednesday, 22 Republicans voted against Mr Jordan – an even poorer performance from his first vote when 20 members of his party defected.

On his return from a trip to Israel on Wednesday, Mr Biden was asked if he had any thoughts on Mr Jordan’s inability to secure the speakership.

Putting his hand across his heart, a smiling Mr Biden replied: “I ache for him.”

He laughed and added: “No, zero. None.”

In Wednesday’s vote, Mr Jordan – who is seeking to become the next House speaker after Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the role by his own party and congressman Steve Scalise withdrew from the race last week – lost further support from his party.

While some Republicans switched to support Mr Jordan, the Ohio Republican lost the support of Reps Vern Buchanan of Florida, Drew Ferguson of Georgia, Marianette Miller Meeks of Iowa and Pete Stauber of Minnesota.

Rep Tom Cole, the chairman of the House Rules Committee, delivered a nominating speech to rally supporters for Mr Jordan, citing Mr Jordan’s “personal integrity” and calling on the House to get back to work.

Conversely, Rep Pete Aguilar, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, nominated House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

Joe Biden laughs at Jim Jordan’s speaker bid chaos

“The country cannot afford more delays and more chaos,” he said. “Fifteen days should be enough.”

The vote comes as some Republicans, led by Rep David Joyce of Ohio, have discussed potentially giving Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry more power so the House could resume deliberation to pass spending bills to avert a government shutdown.

After the vote, Mr McHenry huddled with Rep French Hill of Arkansas; Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, who opposed Mr Jordan; David Joyce of Ohio and Brian Fitzpatrick on the floor of the House. Mr Kelly told The Independent that he did not know if such a resolution could pass.

“I don’t know I really don’t know because we haven’t brought it up yet,” he said. Mr Kelly voted for former House speaker Boehner on the second round.

Rep Carlos Giménez (R-FL), who opposed Mr Jordan, told The Independent would not say whether it meant that Mr Jordan should step aside.

“You need to ask Mr Jordan that. That’s his personal decision,” he said. “I think that this is an indication that’s not getting any better. And it may actually get worse in the next round.”

Jim Jordan and Patrick McHenry in the House

Mr Giménez said he would be open to a resolution to empower the speaker pro tempore.

“What I’m saying generally, that I would support something that would open the House and get us back into business as we iron our differences out,” he said.

But Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) did not commit one way when asked about empowering Mr McHenry.

“I’d have to see what the options are on the table,” she told The Independent.

Despite Wednesday’s disappointment, Mr Jordan remained upbeat, telling reporters: “We got 200 votes. We picked up some today, a couple of them dropped off but they voted for me before, I think they’ll come back again.

“So we’ll keep talking to members, keep working on it.

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