Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)  and Scott Perry (R-Pa.)

Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.) talk to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on November 6, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

'Unfit to Be in Office': House Progressives Denounce Jim Jordan as Lawmakers Vote for Speaker

"If elected speaker, Jordan would effectively give the House to Trump," said former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. "No alliance poses a greater threat to our democracy."

As the U.S. House began its latest voting process in an attempt to secure a speaker, progressive lawmakers made clear their view that Rep. Jim Jordan's history of spreading lies about the 2020 election and racist anti-immigration rhetoric disqualifies him from the role that would place him second in line for the presidency.

Not only that, said Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) as the first round of voting got underway, but Jordan (R-Ohio) is "unfit to be in office."

Like other progressives have in recent days, Bush connected Jordan's refusal to accept former Republican President Donald Trump's loss in the 2020 election and his involvement in strategizing to challenge the election with the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Jordan emerged on Friday as the latest candidate to lead Republicans in the House, where they hold a majority, after winning his party's nomination to replace former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and beginning a pressure campaign to secure the 217 votes he needed to win the speakership.

Last week, Rep.Steve Scalise (R-La.) failed to garner the votes he needed, leading critics including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to reason that House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)—with all 212 Democrats supporting him—was far closer to gathering the support needed to win the speaker election.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) repeated that sentiment on Tuesday, calling Jordan an "insurrectionist" and posting a video made by the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee which noted that in 17 years of public service, the lawmaker has never managed to get a bill signed into law or passed in the House.

"Rep. Jeffries has the votes if four Republicans work for the people," said Omar. "Americans deserve better than these political games."

Jordan, founder of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, quickly began a pressure campaign saying Republicans who wouldn't support him were harming the party and the country, with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity commencing "a thinly veiled pressure campaign by querying GOP House members about their refusal to support Jordan," as The Daily Beast reported.

Still, he failed to convince 20 of his GOP colleagues in the first round of voting on Tuesday afternoon, with several of the holdouts supporting Scalise and McCarthy. The vote placed Jordan further away from victory than McCarthy was in the first round of voting when he was eventually elected speaker in January; 19 Republicans opposed McCarthy in the first round, and lawmakers voted 15 times before McCarthy garnered enough support to win.

Jordan began speaking to the dissenters shortly after the first vote, while former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich accused him of using "[Former President Donald] Trump's playbook to try to bully his way to victory."

"If elected speaker, Jordan would effectively give the House to Trump," said Reich. "No alliance poses a greater threat to our democracy."

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), who serves as chair of the House Democratic Caucus, urged his colleagues to vote against "the architect of a nationwide abortion ban, a vocal election denier, and an insurrection insider," saying elevating Jordan to the top House position would send "a terrible message to the country and our allies."

Ocasio-Cortez urged New York voters in districts represented by House Republicans to call their members and make their opposition to Jordan known.

"We will see if individuals like Mike Lawler or Marc Molinaro who represent New Yorkers in the Hudson Valley, the Catskills, Westchester County, will actually vote to install a man who voted to overturn the election and who supports a national abortion ban to be speaker of the House and second in line for the presidency," said Ocasio-Cortez Tuesday night on CNN. "I have my doubts that people in New York will stand for that."

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