Speakership Fight Makes House GOP Look ‘Messy’ and Scares Donors, Warns Conservative Commentator

Speakership Fight Makes House GOP Look ‘Messy’ and Scares Donors, Warns Conservative Commentator
(L–R) Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.) hold a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on April 27, 2023. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Conservative political commentator Angie Wong says President Donald Trump’s endorsement in the House speaker contests presents an opportunity that House Republicans need to take to set aside inter-party conflict and move forward as a team after weeks of contentious debate.

“What we need right now is to make sure that the Republican Party does not look so fractured. We just went through a week where the Republican Party threw out their own leader, and we’re seeing our other Republican leader Donald Trump on trial every other day. So we look messy,” Ms. Wong told NTD News’ “Capitol Report” on Friday.

“What we need is to unify because the Republican Conference is a team sport. It is not men’s singles tennis,” Ms. Wong continued. “We need to look unified, we need to look like we know what we’re doing.”

Ms. Wong explained that regular Republican donors are closing up their checkbooks at the moment as they watch divisions within the House Republican Conference play out.

“They think it’s very unsettling what’s happening, and they’re going to wait it out into 2024 unless we get it together,” she warned.

Republican lawmakers are weighing their options for the next House speaker after Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) garnered seven fellow House Republicans and 208 Democrats to pass a motion to take the speaker’s gavel away from Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) are leading contenders.

President Trump had entertained some talk of temporarily serving as the next House speaker, but on Friday the former president and 2024 Republican primary frontrunner threw his support behind Mr. Jordan’s speakership bid.

“Ultimately, I think this is a good thing for Jim Jordan,” Ms. Wong assessed. “This morning you’re now seeing the echo chamber, you’re starting to see Byron Donalds and other congressional members coming out saying, ‘Okay, Donald Trump supports Jim Jordan. So do I.'”

Trump Speakership Would Be ‘Entertaining’ But Complicated: Wong

Ms. Wong said that by indulging talk of temporarily serving as the House speaker, President Trump had helped to bring some degree of unity to the House Republican conference.

“Trump is coming in saying ‘I’m the unifier. I will bring this party back together.’ And he’s taking those necessary steps without crossing the line, because he also said last night, that he might come in temporarily for 30 to 90 days ‘if you need me.’ ‘I don’t want the job. But if you need me, I’ll do it.’ So it was nice of them to offer,” she said.

Ms. Wong said it would have been entertaining to see the former president take a turn at the speakership, but that such a move would have faced challenges.

“If Trump became a temporary Speaker of the House, he would light that house on fire, it would be entertaining 24/7. You know, he would be Nancy Pelosi’s boss, so to speak,” she assessed.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was among the House Republicans who firmly supported letting President Trump take the speaker’s gavel. On Thursday, the Georgia lawmaker eschewed both Mr. Jordan and Mr. Scalise, telling NTD News, “I’m solidly supporting President Trump right now.”

Ms. Greene, who has already endorsed President Trump’s 2024 campaign, praised the former president’s policies and track record during his first term, and told NTD News “I’m supporting [President Trump] to everyone I talk to.”

One immediate hurdle a Trump speakership vote could face involves the rules in the House Republican Conference Resolution. Rule 26(a) states, “A member of the Republican Leadership shall step aside if indicted for a felony for which a sentence of two or more years imprisonment may be imposed.” The rule is pertinent in considering President Trump for the speakership, as he currently faces 91 counts across four separate criminal indictments, with some charges carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

“House Rule 26(a), you know, prohibits, unfortunately, people who are under indictment from running or being part of that conference,” Ms. Wong explained.

The conservative political commentator argued that House Republicans could find other senior members who are deserving of the speakership.

“I think the Republican Party has a great chance right now to recover from last week, and actually put it in a more conservative leader who’s going to have massive powers within this party, not just on the hill, but also outside,” Ms. Wong said.

Pros and Cons of Jordan Speakership

If Mr. Jordan became the next House speaker in a clear and concise vote, Ms. Wong argued that it could help reduce the perception that the House Republican conference is “messy” and divided.

“Jim Jordan is a very safe bet. Everyone likes him in Congress. And that’s what you need. You need 218 votes, right?” she said. “We don’t want to look messy. We don’t want another 15 rounds to vote in Kevin McCarthy. Again, we can’t do those late-night votes. We want a clear, unified vote on Wednesday.”

While Mr. Jordan could unify the House Republican majority, Ms. Wong said fundraising is a key component of the speakership and an area where she feels Mr. Jordan remains largely untested.

“I really enjoyed seeing [Mr. Jordan] in the House Judiciary Committee. I thought he was great there. Ultimately, the job of the speaker we see 20 percent of it, which is to whip votes and get bills passed and to organize Congress,” Ms. Wong said. “What Jim Jordan’s not great at, that I haven’t seen yet anyway, is the fundraising part and the campaigning part and all those things to ensure he has an army for the GOP in 2024. So that has yet to be seen. And that’s really the majority of what House Speaker Kevin McCarthy did.”

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