Jordan not ruling out Speaker’s bid amid allegations

Jordan not ruling out Speaker’s bid amid allegations
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanThe Hill's Morning Report — Russia furor grips Washington Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership Jordan interviewed in OSU investigation into alleged doctor's sex abuse MORE said he is still contemplating a bid for Speaker if the GOP keeps its majority, even as the Ohio Republican battles allegations that he ignored accusations of sexual abuse on the Ohio State University wrestling team while he was a coach there.

“If and when there’s a Speaker’s race, I plan on being a part of the discussion,” Jordan, flanked by several members of the Freedom Caucus, told The Hill on Tuesday evening after House votes.

ADVERTISEMENT
As he hustled through the Capitol tunnels with his jacket thrown over his shoulder, Jordan continued to adamantly deny that he had any knowledge that his wrestlers were allegedly being abused by a team doctor decades ago, and said he wants to see justice served if there were any victims.

“The investigation is going on, and if there were people who were harmed, they deserve justice,” Jordan told The Hill.

Tuesday marks the first time Jordan has spoken to reporters on Capitol Hill since the initial bombshell accusations broke last week. A handful of camera crews and reporters were camped outside Jordan’s office in the Rayburn Building throughout the day.

At least five former Buckeye wrestlers have now stated that Jordan knew or must have known about the sexual abuse of Ohio State athletes while he was an assistant wrestling coach there from 1987 to 1995.

Allies have rushed to Jordan’s defense, including 14 former OSU wrestlers who went on the record Tuesday to refute the claims.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsFreedom Caucus lawmakers call on DOJ to probe Rosenstein allegations House GOP questions FBI lawyer for second day Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus MORE (R-N.C.) said he and Jordan had spoken to every member of the roughly 30-member conservative group and that everyone was backing Jordan.

There is "unanimous support for Jim Jordan" in the Freedom Caucus, Meadows — perhaps Jordan's closest friend in Congress — told reporters Tuesday night.

Meadows said he saw no reason why Jordan needed to step down from the Freedom Caucus leadership team and suggested that Jordan's reputation had not been tarnished by the Ohio State allegations.

"Jim Jordan is a man of integrity and honor who always fights for the underdog," Meadows said just off the House floor. "His reputation with us has been built with me over the last six years. Any story that would suggest that he is someone who is not willing to fight for those who have been disadvantaged is just not accurate based on the man I've come to know and admire."

"He was one of many coaches at Ohio State and to suggest that this is somehow Jordan's fault, is just not accurate," Meadows continued. "There are motives that are at play here that are disappointing."

Jordan also has the backing of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE and GOP party leaders.

"I talked to him over the weekend — I called him. I talked to him to see how he's doing from a couple of different bases, and, you know, the loss of his nephew," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHouse leaders clash over resolution backing ICE House backs resolution expressing support for ICE House GOP reverses, cancels vote on Dem bill to abolish ICE MORE (R-Calif.) told reporters on Tuesday. "I don't know what happened 20 years ago at Ohio State. … The only person I know in this whole thing is Jim, and Jim to me has been an honest person all the time. And I think if he saw something, he would say it.”

Scott Wong contributed.