The Republican-led House may only become more chaotic, with one member comparing it to a “stupid clown car” on Thursday.
Here comes Donald Trump.
After House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was removed from his position, the former president dove headfirst into the chaos, as is his wont, in an attempt to portray himself as a kingmaker and steal the show.
Speculation of the former president’s first visit to the US Capitol since his mob ransacked it on January 6, 2021, surfaced on a day of turmoil reminiscent of the mayhem within the Trump White House. The president then hinted that he would temporarily assume the role of speaker himself.
The ex-president’s endorsement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan for the position, however, came as the biggest surprise of the night.
“He will make a fantastic House Speaker, and he has my full support!” Trump praised Jordan’s abilities as a student wrestler more than his political career in a post he made on his Truth Social network.
The Ohio Republican, who is one of the most divisive people in Washington and one of Trump’s most faithful attack dogs, is taking the lead in the investigation into President Joe Biden’s possible impeachment.
If Jordan wins the speakership, he will certainly signal a new era of heated confrontation with the White House. Jordan is running against Republican House Majority leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana. A Republican House majority under Jordan’s leadership would increase the likelihood of a government shutdown next month in a fight over spending with Democrats; he has opposed the US lifeline of supplies and ammunition to Ukraine.
But the moderate Republicans whose votes helped build the GOP majority are understandably worried that having Trump at the top of the ticket in 2024 would turn off voters in their districts if Jordan runs.
The support of moderate Republicans like them could prove crucial in the campaign between Jordan and Scalise, since Scalise appears to have more support from Republicans outside the party’s extreme right wing, particularly among significant donors.
Representative Steve Scalise enjoys widespread support from his fellow lawmakers after beating blood cancer and surviving a shooting at a congressional baseball practise in 2017. Not only has he voted in favour of increased aid to Ukraine, but he is also more in line with the GOP’s traditional hawkish internationalism than Trump’s “Make America Great Again” nationalism.
Several House Republicans reacted angrily to the plan, with one calling it “insanity” and another saying it will turn the speaker’s race into a “circus,” as reported by HEADLINESFOREVER’s Melanie Zanona. The meeting with the House GOP conference was scheduled for Monday, so the joint interview between Jordan and Scalise on Fox News was quickly cancelled.
The timing of the Fox event is now in question as Jordan announced he would address the conference before taking part in it in the face of backlash.
A spokeswoman for Jordan said Friday that the country “believes it is crucial to meet with the GOP conference before the event.”
Strange events in the nation’s capital
To finish off a whirlwind week that began with Washington thanking its blessings after a dramatic weekend gamble by then-Speaker McCarthy averted a government shutdown that had seemed likely, Trump has decided to throw himself into the mix as the contest for speaker escalates.
However, it turned out to be a complete mirage.
McCarthy’s ouster by GOP right-wingers after only nine months in a role he’d sought for years has paralysed American administration as the weekend approaches.
Nobody knows when or who will become the new speaker of the House of Representatives.
McCarthy arranged a temporary spending bridge on Saturday with the support of Democratic senators, but a week of it has already been used up. The next deadline is on November 17.
The Democrats in control of the White House and the Senate will not accept the extreme conservatives’ demands for massive cuts in government spending, which led to the recent government shutdown.
Moreover, mounting hostility from GOP senators for funding a sovereign nation’s battle against an unprovoked invasion by Russia has unexpectedly put the US lifeline of weaponry and ammunition for Ukraine on life support.
It’s possible that Trump may re-ignite the conflict.
By voting for Jordan in the speaker’s race, Republicans would be showing support for an ex-president who attempted to overthrow democracy by alleging widespread voter fraud and who now claims he will win a second term to exact “retribution” on his political opponents if elected.
ABC News reported on Thursday that Trump allegedly shared potentially sensitive information about US nuclear submarines with a member of his Mar-a-Lago club, who then allegedly passed the information on to foreign officials and journalists, highlighting the risk the party runs by continuing to lionise the ex-president. Without directly denying the story, a spokeswoman for Trump blasted “illegal leaks” and “baseless witch hunts” and said the ex-president had done nothing wrong.
Concerns about a twice-impeached former president, who is awaiting trial in four criminal cases including mismanagement of national defence material, returning to the White House will be rekindled as a result of the discoveries.
William Cohen, a former Republican senator from Maine and Defence Secretary under Democratic President Bill Clinton, said Anderson Cooper on HEADLINESFOREVER, “He shouldn’t be anywhere near the Oval Office ever.”
The GOP wants to get even with white supremacists who throw flaming bombs.
After the initial shock of McCarthy’s removal, anger at the fact that he was toppled by only eight Republican defectors voting with Democrats set in.
Some Republicans are calling for the expulsion of Florida Representative Matt Gaetz as the revolt’s leader. Others have warned that the only way for the GOP to recover from the chaos is to eliminate the rule that permits one member to convene a vote to oust the speaker.
McCarthy’s interim Republican leadership has already gotten its revenge, expelling Speaker Emeritus Nancy Pelosi and former Majority Leader Steny Hoyer from their offices in the Capitol for refusing to come to the rescue of the California Republican (a tall order, given that he opened an impeachment probe into Biden).
Scalise and Jordan, the two publicly proclaimed candidates for the next speaker, spent Thursday conducting behind-the-scenes campaigns among their fellow House members. Because of the party’s internal strife, it’s unlikely that either veteran will be able to muster enough support to win. But among the rank and file, anger at the events of the week has reached a boiling point, along with a desire for the next leader to finally rein in hard-right political arsonists.
Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), who has called Gaetz a “saboteur” and his followers “chaos artists,” said on “HEADLINESFOREVER News Central” that unless “we change the foundational problems within our conference, it’s just going to be the same stupid clown car with a different driver.”
I don’t think the pyromaniacs are going to be content once they’ve burned down one house,” Johnson said. They’re probably going to want to go torch a few more buildings.
Ukraine has suffered the most as a result of the current unrest.
The GOP majority’s ability to generate comedic scenes in the House frequently belied the gravity of the situation. Until Republicans elect a speaker, which could begin as early as next week, half of one branch of US government has effectively shut down. If Congress fails to approve necessary funding measures by the end of the year, or if a shutdown occurs, millions of people could be negatively impacted, putting at risk an already fragile economic recovery.
Ukraine’s at stake is considerably more. Vice President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have both voiced concerns that the multi-billion dollar pipeline of US aid could dry up due to rising Republican opposition in the House and the next GOP speaker possibly being reluctant to enact new arms and ammunition packages with Democratic votes after what happened to McCarthy.
Many Republicans have questioned the wisdom of providing financial aid to Ukraine at a time when the United States faces serious challenges at home, such as rising crime and a porous southern border. One of the eight Republicans who dismissed McCarthy last week, Montana’s Rep. Matt Rosendale, made the increasingly common argument that the United States should bring Russia and Ukraine together to enforce a peace pact. Rosendale told Jim Sciutto on Wednesday’s HEADLINESFOREVER Max, “I, for one, don’t want to participate in continuing to see Ukrainians get killed, to see Ukraine soil be destroyed.”
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, provided his own explanation for why Ukraine requires immediate assistance. At least 51 people, including a six-year-old kid, were killed on Thursday when Russian missiles crashed into a village cafe and a grocery store.