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Jim Jordan is the "cesspool of deviancy." He cannot be allowed to be House speaker
From insurrection to ignoring sexual abuse and creepy voyeurism, his past disqualifies him.
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Even many Republicans know that Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan's corrupt and creepy past doesn’t bode well for having him as speaker of the House of Representatives.
He was crashing and burning late last week, even after winning the nomination to be speaker (on his second try on Friday, after Steve Scalise dropped out because he couldn't get enough votes to win on the House floor).
Though Jordan won the nomination among House Republicans in a secret ballot on Friday with 124 votes, a validation vote (also a secret ballot) was taken to see if members would vote for him for speaker when the vote is taken on the House floor. Jordan reportedly received only 152 votes—some 55 votes short of the 217 needed to be speaker. As of Friday night, Republicans who voted for his challenger, Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia—who, unlike Jordan, isn’t an election denier—still wouldn’t get behind Jordan as speaker.
That could change, however, particularly because when the House goes to a public floor vote, Donald Trump, who endorsed Jordan, will be looming over the proceedings. And Jordan’s allies are now making veiled threats that could pressure many cowardly Republicans—and most in the House GOP are cowardly, which is why they’re in this mess—to get behind Jordan, fearful of a Trump-backed primary challenge if they don’t fall in line. Per The New York Times:
Representative Jim Jordan and his allies have begun a right-wing pressure campaign against Republicans opposed to electing him speaker, working to unleash the rage of the party’s base voters against any lawmaker standing in the way of his election.
In efforts to close the gap, lawmakers and activists close to [Jordan] have taken to social media and the airwaves to blast the Republicans they believe are blocking his path to victory and encourage voters to browbeat them into supporting Mr. Jordan.
Enough anti-Jordan Republicans are reportedly holding firm in the face of this—and if only a few vote against him he’s sunk—some of them angered by the Trumpian pressure campaign. So, we’ll see what happens.
But why exactly is this MAGA bullying so necessary to get Jordan elected? Why are even so many Republicans opposed to Jordan—at least when it’s on a secret ballot?
That could be because Jordan is beyond corrupt, so enmeshed in Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election and inspire the insurrection on January 6th that they know he won’t be working for them, or certainly the American people, but rather for one man: Donald J. Trump. It could also be because he will bow to mega-MAGA in the party, allowing the extremists to completely hold Congress and the American people hostage as we face another government shutdown in a month.
Or perhaps it’s also the past revelations that just keep coming back about Jordan's time as the assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University before entering Congress. He’s been accused by former teammates of knowing they were being sexually assaulted by the team doctor, Richard Strauss—six men came forward to CNN in 2017 who were abused and say Jordan knew about it and failed to protect them—even after Jordan claimed he’d been cleared in an investigation.
Last week, four former wrestlers who were victims spoke out as Jordan was being considered for House speaker, giving interviews to NBC News:
“Do you really want a guy in that job who chose not to stand up for his guys?” said former OSU wrestler Mike Schyck, one of the hundreds of former athletes and students who say they were sexually abused by school doctor Richard Strauss and have sued the university. “Is that the kind of character trait you want for a House speaker?”
Dunyasha Yetts, another former OSU wrestler who has publicly and repeatedly accused Jordan of lying about not knowing what Strauss was doing to the athletes, said the congressman’s “hypocrisy is unbelievable.”
“He doesn’t deserve to be House speaker,” Yetts said. “He still has to answer for what happened to us.”
Rocky Ratliff, a former OSU wrestler and alleged Strauss victim who is also a lawyer representing some of the plaintiffs suing the school, said Jordan “abandoned his former wrestlers in the Ohio State sexual abuse scandal and cover-up.”
Less discussed about Jordan’s time as wrestling coach is the allegation that Jordan also knew that men regularly masturbated while watching the students take showers, sexually harassing the college athletes, and never took administrative action. Per a Politico report in 2018:
A half-dozen ex-wrestlers told POLITICO they were regularly harassed in their training facility by sexually aggressive men who attended the university or worked there. The voyeurs would masturbate while watching the wrestlers shower or sit in the sauna, or engage in sexual acts in the areas where the athletes trained, the former wrestlers said.
Larkins Hall, the building that housed athletic teams, became such a well-known target that people who frequented it at the time have reminisced in anonymous postings online about how easy it was to ogle naked members of the wrestling team.
Though Jordan denied knowing about it, former wrestlers say there was no way he didn’t know:
One former wrestler told POLITICO he saw Jordan yell at male voyeurs to get out of the sauna, though Jordan’s office refuted this account. Even three wrestlers who defended Jordan said it would have been impossible for him not to notice the pervasive toxic atmosphere surrounding the team.
“Coaching my athletes in Larkins Hall was one of the most difficult things I ever did,” said a former wrestling coach who worked with Jordan but asked not to be named. “It was a cesspool of deviancy. And that’s a whole ’nother story that no one has addressed.”
A man who would fail to protect students from being sexually abused and would turn a blind eye to students subjected to harassment would also look the other way about many other kinds of crimes—and engage in them as well, as he clearly did in working to overturn an election and then defying a congressional subpoena.
Jordan’s actions in Congress, working with Trump—on phone calls with the White House and others who plotted the overturning of the election, and on the phone with Trump on the morning of January 6th, per the January 6th Committee’s report—were all about trying to subvert the will of the people and help Trump stay in power. House Minority Whip Katherine Clark, D-Mass., over the weekend called Jordan an “insurrectionist.” She is absolutely right. He cannot be allowed to become speaker of the House.