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EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Matt Gaetz is urging Rep. Jim Jordan to run for speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives if Republicans win back the majority this November.
Gaetz, R-Fla., said the Ohio Republican is not only trusted by the conservative grassroots, but could also unite the disparate factions within the House GOP.
“For my money, the best person to be speaker of the House would be Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio,” Gaetz said during an interview with Fox News Digital at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Texas. “Our base trusts him. He’s the hardest working, most talented member.”
Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, is a conservative stalwart within the House GOP. A one-time chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Jordan was a top opponent of the Republican leadership under Speaker John Boehner during the early 2010s.
After the 2018 elections, Jordan ran for House minority leader against then-GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy of California. McCarthy won the race by a large margin.
Since the contest, the GOP conference has shifted to the right under McCarthy’s leadership. At the same time, McCarthy has worked to bring Jordan into the leadership fold as an adviser.
Jordan has stated previously that he would back McCarthy if Republicans retook the majority, and his office did not comment on Gaetz’s CPAC comments to Fox News Digital.
Despite Jordan’s support, Gaetz said he was unsold on McCarthy as speaker of the House.
“A question that I have gotten consistently at CPAC is, ‘Can we trust Kevin McCarthy to be in the battle with us and not be a valet for the lobbyists and special interests?’” he said. “I still think that’s an open question.”
McCarthy, who has raised more than $100 million for GOP efforts to retake the House, is the heavy favorite for the speakership. The Californian has a strong base of support among mainline conservatives as well as moderate Republicans, who often make up the difference between having a majority or minority.
McCarthy’s office did respond to requests for comment on this story.
Gaetz has previously floated the idea of former President Donald Trump being elected speaker, noting that the role does not officially require the presiding officer to be a member of the House.
“I did offer to President Trump the concept of the speakership and he had little interest in it,” said Gaetz. “I think he’s interested in a different job in our federal government, not speaker of the House.”
Regardless of who winds up with the speaker’s gavel, Gaetz said Republicans need a vision for how to govern when in the majority.
“I think we should convert every committee in the Congress to an oversight committee,” he argued. “This is not time to hold hands in the warm spring rain with the Democrats and figure out if we can pass a spending bill or an infrastructure bill.”
“If we don’t fulfill those commitments to our voters, then we’ll be wiped out in the subsequent elections. And this will all have been for naught,” he added. “So I’m here to make sure we have a fighting spirit in the Republican Party, and that we deliver on those wins.”