Right-wing media floated these alternative candidates to Rep. Kevin McCarthy for speaker of the House
Over four days (and counting), California Republican Kevin McCarthy has been fighting – and failing – to secure enough votes to become the 55th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Unsatisfied with the possibility of a McCarthy speakership, some members of right-wing media have suggested alternatives for speaker of the House, including former president Donald Trump and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who reportedly aided the disgraced former president in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
In what has now become the longest such race in 164 years, House Republicans have failed to elect a speaker as McCarthy has been unable to win over hard-right members of his party. Over the course of the first three days and 11 votes, a group of 20 GOP members of Congress gave a multitude of reasons for their withheld votes. On January 6, during the fourth day of voting, McCarthy was able to gain support from 14 of these representatives, but still did not have enough votes overall to secure the speakership.
Right-wing media are becoming restless over the “damn circus” being displayed on the House floor as Republicans are unable to unite to nominate a speaker. Unsatisfied with both the possibility of a McCarthy speakership and the chaotic coverage of the race, here are some names right-wing media are floating as potential alternatives for speaker of the House:
Former President Donald Trump
Despite Trump’s own endorsement of McCarthy, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) nominated and voted for the former president in three rounds of voting. No other representatives joined Gaetz in voting for Trump, but several right-wing media figures have supported the idea.
- Newsmax host Eric Bolling said his “top choice” for speaker would be Trump, followed by Elon Musk and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA).
- One America News Network’s Pearson Sharp promoted Trump for the next House speaker, claiming that, among other things, he will “work with President Vladimir Putin to save America from World War III.”
- War Room host Steve Bannon said that Trump should be an interim speaker, claiming that “he is the uniquely skilled individual to do this.”
- Conservative activist and attorney Ivan Raiklin called on Gaetz to nominate Trump for speaker, looking to promote a candidate who will “do the body-check that’s necessary against the runaway, unlawful executive branch.”
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
While Scalise has not been formally nominated for speaker, the former minority whip and “No. 2 House Republican” has been floated as a potential candidate if McCarthy cannot receive the votes necessary to become speaker.
- America Reports co-anchor John Roberts suggested that the Republican Party “start thinking about who can get the votes,” providing a short list of people such as Scalise or Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) who can “carry the day.”
- While appearing on The Story with Martha MacCallum, Fox News contributor Josh Kraushaar said that Scalise could become a candidate for House speaker if McCarthy’s bid fails, describing Scalise as “someone who is acceptable to the establishment, acceptable to the pro-McCarthy Republicans, and I think that he might have a better chance of getting votes from the hold-outs.”
- On Fox & Friends, former Trump official Mercedes Schlapp speculated that Scalise may “arise from this as a potential speaker.”
- Fox News contributor Marc Thiessen proposed Scalise for an alternative speaker nomination due to his reelection “as majority leader with broad support” from a wide spectrum of Republicans
- Fox News host Brian Kilmeade mentioned that Scalise is “liked on both sides” before sneering that even Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the Democratic Party’s nominee for speaker, “likes Scalise more than Kevin McCarthy.”
- On Fox’s Your World with Neil Cavuto, Washington Examiner reporter Sarah Westwood speculated that “if another candidate emerges, such as Scalise,” then “McCarthy's rationale for continuing these same votes with the same results is going to be difficult” due to Scalise having “the same credibility with the House Republican conference.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)
Jordan was nominated by Rep. Matt Gaetz and received 19 votes in the second round of voting; in the third round, Jordan was nominated by Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) and received 20 votes. He was later renominated, receiving four votes in the 12th round and six votes in the 13th. As the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Jordan has expressed that he enjoys his current position and there’s “no chance” he’ll become speaker.
- On his podcast, The Benny Show, Newsmax’s Benny Johnson heaped praise on the Ohio Republican, saying, “Jim Jordan is a champion. He is a brawler. He is a fighter. I think Jim Jordan would make an incredible speaker, to be quite honest with you.”
- Right-wing extremist Laura Loomer tweeted that she agreed with Gaetz’s nomination of Jordan because “maybe the person who should be Speaker is someone who doesn’t want to be Speaker.”
- On his radio show, Fox host Mark Levin said he was confused about why a speaker has yet to be nominated, suggesting: “Are there others? Donald Trump? Jim Jordan? Jim Banks? Tom Massie?”
- Right-wing conspiracy theorist Rogan O’Handley posted on social media, “Republican voters want Jim Jordan for Speaker and it’s not even close.”
- Former Epoch Times columnist Brian Cates posted on Truth Social, “SCALISE OR JORDAN MAKE IT HAPPEN.”
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL)
Many of the 20 Republican hold-outs voted for Donalds between the fourth and 11th rounds of voting, but he has not been nominated in the two most recent rounds. Donalds has oscillated his support between McCarthy, Jordan, and himself.
- Bigoted conspiracy theorist Roger Stone expressed support for Donalds as “a hardcore America first conservative,” calling the Republican Party’s potential move from McCarthy to Donalds as speaker “nothing short of brilliant.”
- One America News Network’s Addison Smith also floated Donalds for speaker: “Talk about Byron Donalds – because he never planned for this. And sounds like he doesn’t really want to be speaker but will if he's called to. Which makes me want him to be speaker even more. Someone who doesn't want the awesome power that comes with it — like Kevin McCarthy so desperately wants — but will take it if it’s the will of the people.”
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ)
Biggs received 10 votes in the first round, including his own, but has not been nominated since then. Biggs has refused to support McCarthy, instead voting for himself, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Byron Donalds (R-FL), or Kevin Hern (R-OK) throughout the 13 rounds of voting.
- OAN’s Addison Smith has also questioned why Biggs hasn’t been seriously considered for speaker of the House, asking, “Why not just say … OK, let’s elect Andy Biggs to speaker of the House if the argument is McCarthy is a RINO. Andy Biggs is obviously not a RINO, so we can all just settle on him and be happy.”
- “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander expressed his preference for House speaker on Telegram, posting: “Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should Elise, Scalise, or Jim Jordan be allowed be Speaker. I would settle for Biggs who is utterly incompetent but tries. I could also settle for Jim Banks. I like Scott Perry.”