A key Trump ally who worked to overturn the 2020 election results and has deep ties to a dark-money MAGA group is still in the running for the next speaker of the House, a position third in line for the presidency.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who narrowly lost to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) in a GOP caucus vote yesterday, played a key role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and in spreading the Big Lie of 2020 election fraud. Although Scalise was also among the Republican congressmen who voted against certifying the 2020 election results, Trump has endorsed Jordan for the speakership.
At least 10 House members, including five far-right Jordan supporters, have said they will not vote for Scalise, leaving the leadership fight up in the air and the House in chaos.
Jordan’s Efforts to Overturn the 2020 Election
As early as August 2020, Jordan began suggesting that Democrats would try to steal the election, claiming that they were using mail-in ballots to create confusion. As the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee at the time, he oversaw the committee’s September 2020 GOP staff report on election integrity, which claimed that “Democrats are seeking to change state election laws and procedures at the last minute to advantage themselves in the 2020 election cycle.”
When Trump lost, Jordan made extraordinary efforts to keep him in power. Two days after the election, he spoke at a Stop the Steal rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania alongside white nationalists and armed militia members. In the weeks that followed, Jordan called for a congressional investigation into alleged election fraud and began participating in meetings with senior White House officials and other Republican congressmen on how to use the Electoral College certification process to subvert Biden’s election victory. In December, he joined with fellow Republican lawmakers in signing an amicus brief for a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the results of the presidential election in four swing states.
Jordan was “the most prolific Fox guest” of the 147 Republican congressmen who opposed certification of the election, according to an analysis by Media Matters. The day before the insurrection, he appeared on Fox Business, saying, “There was fraud on top of the unconstitutional way they ran the election.”
The day of the insurrection, Jordan sent at least one text message to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows outlining a legal theory that Vice President Mike Pence could block certification of the 2020 election results. Just hours after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, he joined Republican hardliners in refusing to certify Biden’s win.
In the days that followed, Jordan blamed Democrats for the attack on the Capitol, claiming that they had “spent the whole summer saying rioters and looters” at Black Lives Matter protests were peaceful, supported police reform measures, and failed to increase security at the Capitol during the Electoral College certification process.
In the months and years since the insurrection, however, Jordan has denied making claims of massive election fraud.
Jordan’s Ties to MAGA World
Jordan also has deep ties to the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), the MAGA-affiliated think tank that effectively serves as a staffing pipeline for the House Freedom Caucus, which he initially cofounded and chaired. CPI is run by far-right extremists such as Meadows and Cleta Mitchell, a right-wing lawyer who remains the unindicted leader of the election-denial movement.
House Freedom Caucus members have said that Meadows served as a sort of “spiritual advisor” during their challenges to McCarthy’s leadership bid in January, according to the Washington Post.
Over the past few years, Jordan and multiple members of his congressional staff have received reimbursement from CPI to attend meetings at its Maryland compound and Florida retreats, according to House travel disclosures. CPI’s speakers for an April 2023 meeting included Meadows and other top executives; Stephen Miller, architect of Trump’s xenophobic immigration policy; and Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA.
CPI endorsed Jordan’s run for the speakership last week.