Representative Steve Scalise from Louisiana, the House Majority Leader, is reportedly far from the required 217 votes to secure the position of House Speaker. According to a Republican leader, he is expected to fall short by at least 20 votes. This situation may pave the way for Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump, to clinch the victory.
Rep. Thomas Massie from Kentucky has stated that a minimum of 20 Republicans will not be casting their votes in favor of Scalise. Various reasons have been cited, including political disagreements and health issues. Massie was commenting on the fact that Scalise has been undergoing cancer treatment.
In a recent internal vote within the House Republican Conference for the speaker’s nomination, Scalise had managed to surpass Jordan with a margin of 113-99 votes. However, Jordan hasn’t expressed any overt ambition for the role. Since the Wednesday vote, in a gesture showcasing unity, Jordan even urged his fellow Republicans to support Scalise. He mentioned, “I think it’s important we come together, and I’ve offered to nominate Steve on the House floor.”
In a surprising move to some, Rep. Matt Gaetz from Florida also voiced his support for Scalise. Gaetz’s endorsement was unexpected by many, given that Scalise has been occasionally referred to as “McCarthy 2.0.” When asked about Scalise’s prospects, Gaetz enthusiastically responded, “I’m excited for him. Can’t wait to go vote for Steve Scalise. Long live Speaker Scalise.”
However, not all Republicans are in Scalise’s corner. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia took to Twitter to announce her support for Jordan over Scalise. She tweeted, “I’m supporting Jim Jordan for Speaker. I’m not supporting Scalise. I like Steve Scalise, and as I said, I want him to beat cancer, and he should be focused on that.”
Rep. Chip Roy from Texas is also reportedly leaning towards Jordan, according to Fox News sources.
Former President Donald Trump has publicly endorsed Jordan for the position of speaker. In a recent interview, Trump commented on Scalise’s health, stating that he just doesn’t know how Scalise can do the job when he has such a serious problem, referring to Scalise’s cancer diagnosis.
For Scalise to emerge victorious, he would need the support of those who previously voted for Jordan and a majority of the nine Republicans who abstained from voting. Given the current dynamics, this scenario appears unlikely.