U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, says he is focusing on helping Republicans retain their House majority before he worries about his bid for Speaker of the House.
But he says GOP lawmakers need to prove to voters they will do what they’ve promised the past four election cycles and that’s exactly how he would lead in the next Congress.
The race for speaker was triggered by Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision that he is retiring from Congress come January. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is considered Ryan’s natural successor, but Jordan says the past two years have shown plenty of conservative actions from President Trump but very little from Congress in comparison.
He applauds Trump’s actions on the Iran deal, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and cutting taxes and regulations. He says the legislative branch is failing to do its part.
“We certainly helped with the tax cuts and we shouldn’t downplay that. But where’s the border security wall we promised? Where’s the Obamacare repeal? Where’s the welfare reform? Where’s defunding Planned Parenthood? Where are those key issues that we told the American people we were going to get done?
“We haven’t accomplished those, so if we keep the majority and I’m given the chance to lead the House, we’re going to focus on one simple message: doing what we told the American people we were going to do,” said Jordan in an interview with Radio America.
Jordan chalks up the dearth of legislative achievements to “lack of political will” on the part of current Republican leaders. He says that cannot continue for another two years.
“It boils down to a simple fact. You’ve to be willing to actually engage in the debate and have the fight. You can’t just forfeit before the referee even blows the whistle and starts the game,” said Jordan.
He says the point of no return on the existing GOP leadership came earlier this year when it snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and agreed to major spending increases in an omnibus bill.
“Instead of doing what the swamp always does, which is spend more money on everything and make up excuses for why we can’t do what we told the people we were going to do and more importantly what they elected us to do, we should have fought on that omnibus spending bill.
“Remember, (Senate Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer had shut the government down before that. When Chuck Schumer said amnesty was more important than funding our troops, we were well-positioned, we were poised, we were right on the cusp of victory, and yet we did what the swamp always does.
“We were ready to win and do what had to be done for national defense, hold the line on the other spending, fund the border security wall. We were in a position to do that and yet our leadership didn’t do that and Republicans failed to deliver on the promises we had made,” said Jordan.
He says Republicans have a chance to prove they can be trusted when they return to work next month.
“When we go back in September, we better put the border security wall funding on the spending bill and send that to the Senate,” said Jordan.
With all of the alleged failures of Republicans to fulfill promises in this Congress, why should GOP voters bother heading to the polls in November? Jordan says the alternative will be disastrous.
“You elect Democrats, they’re going to raise your taxes, they’re going to abolish ICE, they’re going to socialize medicine and they’re going to impeach the president,” said Jordan.
Jordan’s efforts to ascend the Republican leadership ladder was quickly met with accusations that he knew about and failed to report the sexual abuse of wrestlers by a team doctor while an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University in the 1980s and 1990s.
Those accusations were met with a long list of former coaches and athletes who said Jordan never covered anything up and never would. Some of the allegations were eventually retracted.
Jordan says the bias of the media was on full display with that story.
“If you’re a conservative, they’re out to get you. If you support the president and you’re fighting to support the president, particularly in this issue of the Department of Justice, they’re out to get you,” said Jordan.
He also categorically denies any such cover-up and says it’s completely contrary to his fighting spirit.
“I’ve taken on the Speaker of the House from my own state. I’ve taken on the IRS when they were targeting people. I’ve taken on the Department of Justice and the FBI for the wrong they did when they took this dossier and took it to a secret court to spy on President Trump’s campaign.
“The idea that I would not stand up for our wrestlers is just ridiculous and everyone sees through that story,” said Jordan.