Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call/AP
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio talks with members of the media on Capitol Hill on September 27, 2019.
As he traveled from a New York courtroom to his Palm Beach club this week, former President Donald Trump repeatedly asked his allies and aides for steady updates on what was happening in Washington, DC, as the man he often referred to as “my Kevin” was ousted from the House speakership in dramatic fashion and the immediate search for his replacement began.
According to several sources, Trump hesitated to involve himself in saving Kevin McCarthy’s speakership beyond a single post on Truth Social. Instead, he immediately asked those around him about who could potentially replace McCarthy, with one underlying theme in mind: Who would be the most loyal to him?
As Trump reveled publicly in the far-fetched notion that he should take the job, he never took the idea seriously and instead focused on putting a reliable GOP ally in the role. Trump had liked McCarthy as speaker because he knew the California Republican was unfailingly loyal to him. The prospect of someone who wasn’t unsettled him. He scoffed privately to multiple people at names being thrown around of more moderate members, like Tom Emmer, the majority whip.
It wasn’t long before Trump began telling Republicans during multiple phone conversations that Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan was his pick, while also making clear that he didn’t want to publicly disclose that decision yet with an endorsement. Instead, he began crafting plans to travel to Washington where he would potentially make the endorsement during a GOP meeting Tuesday, two people familiar with his plans told CNN.
That plan ran into a brick wall when Rep. Troy Nehls tweeted the following Thursday night, catching Trump and his circle off guard: “Just had a great conversation with President Trump about the Speaker’s race. He is endorsing Jim Jordan, and I believe Congress should listen to the leader of our party.”
Though he had been reluctant to do so, that tweet forced Trump to post his own shortly after midnight, affirming that Jordan had his endorsement.
The plan to travel to Washington was also scrapped, though people close to Trump noted he could always change his mind.
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