The Ohio Republican spent the aftermath of the 2020 election spreading lies and plotting to reverse its results. Now he might become speaker of the House.

Rep. Jim Jordan is an anti-establishment firebrand, one who should have been expelled from the House for his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. There’s still no guarantee that he will manage to scrape together the 217 votes he needs to become speaker. But the Ohio Republican was doing better Monday than he was Friday after a bullying campaign to rattle holdouts put him much closer to success. The firewall of 55 Republicans who’d indicated in a secret ballot that they’d never support him was reportedly crumbling, and, as of Monday, no alternative candidate had stepped up to challenge him in a floor vote.

That we’re even considering Jordan as a serious option doesn’t seem real. After all, this is the same Jordan whom former Speaker John Boehner, himself an Ohio Republican, described as a “legislative terrorist.” The same Jordan who has spent this Congress chairing the failed “weaponization of the federal government” subcommittee and failing to make the case that the FBI is persecuting conservatives. The same Jordan who was tapped to join the House Intelligence Committee during former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment to act as a pit bull and attack the investigation however he could.

And that’s before we get to the most egregious of Jordan’s sins: his support for Trump’s attempted reversal of the 2020 election. Jordan was one of a key group of lawmakers Trump and his advisers were in contact with in the weeks after Election Day. He was one of the loudest voices spreading Trump’s lies of election fraud and promoting the “Stop the Steal” narrative at rallies and on social media. When Trump, according to notes from a Justice Department official, said at a December 2020 meeting to “just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,” Jordan was one of the members he was counting on to help keep Joe Biden from being officially declared the winner. According to the House Jan. 6 committee’s final report, Jordan led a conference call on Jan. 2, 2021, in which Trump and members of Congress “discussed strategies for delaying the January 6th joint session.”

Even as a mob was ransacking the U.S. Capitol that Jan. 6, Trump’s allies were still trying to persuade Jordan to keep delaying the Electoral College vote count. We know Trump and Jordan spoke that day. We don’t know what they talked about — but that’s not because he hasn’t been asked. Jordan received a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee to testify about his role in trying to overturn the election. He refused to comply, preferring to slam the investigation as a partisan sham. And instead of punishing him for undercutting the House’s authority, Republicans instead granted him the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee this year. Now they may soon put him in charge of the entire chamber.

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