Former President Donald Trump is reportedly not expected to support House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) in the speakership race against House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH).
Trump, whose 2024 campaign Scalise did not endorse, is unlikely to help Scalise whip the votes to become speaker because “loyalty is a two-way street,” three sources close to the president told the Messenger on Wednesday.
One person “familiar with the former president’s thinking” explained it this way:
“Trump personally likes Steve. There’s no real animosity,” said one of the sources. “But the fact is, loyalty is a two-way street and Steve had a chance to support the president but he didn’t.”
“So if Trump has to work for it in Steve’s eyes, Steve is going to have to work for it in Trump’s eyes,” the source added.
Trump’s reported hesitancy to endorse Scalise comes after the Republican conference held a vote on Wednesday to determine who the conference supports on the House floor. Scalise received 113 member votes, three of which were from delegates from territories, who do not have a vote on the House floor. Jordan received 99 votes, and eight voted present. Scalise’s 110 House floor votes number means he does not have a majority of the majority, a bad sign for Scalise’s chances of winning the speakership.
After the vote, Jordan said he would coalesce support behind Scalise. But about ten Republicans still oppose Scalise obtaining the gavel, including Reps. Chip Roy, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Max Miller, Barry Moore, Lloyd Smuckerand, and Lauren Boebert.
Trump also backed Jordan. He “will be a GREAT Speaker of the House, & has my Complete & Total Endorsement!” Trump wrote on Truth social October 6.
One of Scalise’s opponents, Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX), said Trump’s endorsement of Jordan was a reason he plans to vote for Jordan. “That’s what Donald Trump wanted,” he said.
A concern with a Scalise Speakership is his ongoing battle with cancer. “I like Steve Scalise, and I like him so much that I want to see him defeat cancer more than sacrifice his health in the most difficult position in Congress,” Greene posted on X. “I lost my father to cancer and it’s a very serious battle. We need a Speaker who is able to put their full efforts into defeating the communist democrats and save America.”
The absence of a consensus behind a candidate discouraged the GOP from voting on Wednesday to elect a speaker on the House floor. Republicans will likely postpone a full House vote until the conference unites behind a candidate.
“I think it is foolish to rush this to the floor unless you have 217 votes,” Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) told the New York Times. “It’ll be interesting.”