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Who is Jim Jordan, the House GOP's speaker nominee?

Jordan trying to secure votes for speakership
Jordan trying to secure votes for House speakership as some doubt he can reach 217 05:11

Rep. Jim Jordan has so far failed to get enough votes to become the House speaker, as Republicans' path forward remains unclear. 

A hard-right conservative from Ohio, Jordan is the face of the GOP investigations into the Biden administration.

House Republicans last week formally selected Jordan to be their nominee after their first nominee, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, withdrew his name from consideration. The House has been without a speaker since Oct. 3, when McCarthy was removed from the role in a 216-210 vote. 

Since Jordan joined the House in 2007, he has gained a reputation as an outspoken critic of Democratic White Houses whose flamethrowing tactics have singed Republicans as well.

Jordan was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of the most conservative members of the party that was established to oust then-House Speaker John Boehner, which was ultimately successful. During former President Donald Trump's presidency, Trump found in Jordan an ally who, like Trump, rarely held back.

So, who is Jim Jordan?

How Jordan got to where he is in politics 

Jordan, a 59-year-old native of Troy, Ohio, has spent most of his adult life as a politician, becoming an Ohio state representative in 1995.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Jordan received his law degree from Capital University Law School in Ohio in 2001, the same year he went from being a state representative to a state senator.

Jordan was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, and took office in 2007, during former President George W. Bush's second term. 

Role in the House Freedom Caucus

Jordan was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus in 2015, and served as its first chairman from 2015 to 2017. Led by Jordan, the conservative members of the caucus pushed for a motion to "vacate the chair" against then-Speaker John Boehner, the same move that ultimately ousted former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his speakership. Before any vote could take place, Boehner announced his resignation in September 2015. 

Since then, the caucus has become known for its take-it-or-leave-it, conservative stances on policy and the debt limit, often forcing more moderate Republicans to compromise. And its members were some of the most vocal supporters of Trump during his presidency. 

The Trump years 

Jordan was one of Trump's most ardent supporters in the House, and continues to be even after Trump left office. 

Jordan lambasted the congressional and federal investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He also sought to prevent the impeachment inquiry hearing over Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from proceeding. 

After the 2020 election, Jordan was also a staunch supporter of challenges to Trump's loss, and he was among the more than 100 House Republicans who signed onto an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit filed with the Supreme Court to challenge the election results. The highest court declined to hear the case. 

Trump has endorsed Jordan for speaker. 


Jordan was a member of the Select Committee on Benghazi, investigating the deaths of four American soldiers at the U.S. embassy in Libya in 2012 when Barack Obama was president and Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. Jordan accused Clinton of failing to lead when the crisis happened. 

He was also the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee when Democrats controlled the House in 2019 and 2020. 

Now, Jordan is the chairman of both the House Judiciary Committee and one of its subcommittees, the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. 

In those roles during the Biden administration, Jordan, along with House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, has launched hearings and issued subpoenas in an effort to uncover information about the Biden family's business dealings, with a particular interest in Hunter Biden. The president's son faces felony gun charges after a tentative plea agreement between his lawyers and federal prosecutors fell apart in court. 

Ohio State University accusations

A controversy that has reemerged with Jordan vying for the speakership dates back to his time as a wrestling coach at The Ohio State University before he became a state legislator. 

Jordan, a two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion and four-time state champion in high school, worked as an assistant wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994.

Two former university wrestlers, Mike DiSabato and Dunyasha Yetts, claimed Jordan was aware of allegations that a now-dead team doctor was abusing athletes. Jordan has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the abuse, and Jordan himself has never been accused of sexual misconduct.

"We knew of no abuse. Never heard of abuse. If we had, we would have reported it," Jordan said in 2018 when the ex-wrestlers claimed he was aware.

The abuse sprang into focus decades after it happened, when former students accused physician Richard Strauss of abusing wrestlers and other athletes. Strauss died by suicide in 2005. An independent investigation conducted by law firm Perkins Coie on behalf of The Ohio State University and released in 2019 alleged Strauss abused at least 177 students while he was a school doctor, including at least 48 wrestlers. The report claimed the late doctor's behavior was an "open secret" in the athletics department. 

What was Jim Jordan's role on Jan. 6, 2021?

Jordan is a close ally of former President Donald Trump, and the two spoke multiple times on Jan. 6, 2021, during the assault on the U.S. Capitol. During the joint session of Congress that day, Jordan was one of the more than 100 House Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election results. 

Jordan has repeatedly refused to discuss his communication with Trump. Despite this, when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the creation of a select committee to investigate the events leading up and on Jan. 6, 2021, McCarthy, who was the minority leader, picked Jordan to be one of the Republicans on the committee.

Pelosi rejected Jordan and Rep. Jim Banks' nominations given their roles on Jan. 6, leading McCarthy to pull all his Republicans from the committee. In the end, only two Republicans served on the committee, in defiance of McCarthy. Both did not return for the 118th Congress. 

Ultimately, Jordan refused to cooperate with the House Jan. 6 committee, calling their request to meet with him an "unprecedented and inappropriate demand."

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