GOP Deals Devastating Blow to Trump Republicans

News: US News
by Joseph Enders  •  •  October 11, 2023   

Steve Scalise nominated for speaker of the House

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WASHINGTON ( - Louisiana congressman Steve Scalise has emerged as the GOP nominee for speaker of the House of Representatives, creating the potential for another Catholic leader in the GOP. However, there are few celebrations or clinking champagne glasses among Trump and his supporters. For them, this development seems like more of the same inside dealing from Washington.

Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene

Scalise's Wednesday victory over the Trump-endorsed Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, in a 113–99 internal vote among House Republicans has shattered the narrative that Trump's base has completely conquered the party. This is undoubtedly a significant setback for them, as a flurry of frustrated tweets evidenced. One tweet proclaimed, "It's almost like a Trump endorsement is the kiss of death." Several people have taken to social media to express wider disillusionment with the GOP establishment.

But it's not necessarily over, yet. Scalise's Trump-backed opponent, Jim Jordan, still holds a commanding amount of support from pro-Trump Republicans for the actual election, which will occur in the coming days or weeks. Some are saying they will not commit to supporting Scalise. This includes Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who announced, "I just voted for Jim Jordan for Speaker on a private ballot in conference, and I will be voting for Jim Jordan on the House floor."

Jordan is also popular among traditional Catholics, as he notably led the House Judiciary Committee hearings that grilled Biden attorney general Merrick Garland for allowing his FBI to place informants in Latin Mass parishes.

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On the other hand, Rep. Scalise served as House majority whip from 2014 to 2018 and as House minority whip from 2019 to 2022; he is viewed by analysts as the safer, more seasoned choice for House Republican leadership. He gained mainstream clout nationally in 2017 after surviving a gunshot wound to the hip in an assassination attempt by a radical leftist gunman who opened fire on a House Republican baseball practice. The shooter expressed a need to "destroy Trump & co." before the attack.

Scalise's victory could indicate the former president's command over the Republican Party is dwindling.

The ascent of the Catholic to GOP speaker nominee follows last week's controversial removal of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a move spearheaded by Trump Republican Matt Gaetz of Florida. Gaetz pointed to alleged breaches of an agreement McCarthy made with House conservatives in January, specifically relating to government spending limits, as the reason for McCarthy's ouster.

Trump has tried to distance himself from the chaos. A Truth Social post from last week has the 45th president lamenting the party division: "Why is it that Republicans are always fighting among themselves, why aren't they fighting the Radical Left Democrats who are destroying our Country?"

But regardless of Trump's lament, Scalise's victory could indicate the former president's command over the Republican Party is dwindling. The outcome of the upcoming speaker election will indicate how the GOP plans to navigate these ideological fissures in the coming years, no matter what happens in the 2024 presidential race.

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