Why Donald Trump Is Backing Jim Jordan for Speaker Over Steve Scalise

New book sheds light on GOP power struggle

October 6, 2023

What happened: Donald Trump, the greatest living president, on Thursday endorsed Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) for speaker of the House.

• The endorsement gives Jordan a huge advantage over his only challenger—Rep. Steve Scalise (R., La.), a survivor of radical left-wing terrorism—in the race to succeed former speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.).

• McCarthy was ousted as House speaker earlier this week after Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) and seven other Republicans threw a temper tantrum.

Why it happened: Trump's decision might have something to do with the fact that he finds Scalise somewhat annoying, as detailed in a new book by Cassidy Hutchinson, the former White House staffer whose testimony before the January 6 select committee in 2022 made her an icon of the anti-Trump #Resistance.

• Scalise is a close talker, apparently, which Trump abhors. The former president during their interactions was also annoyed by the congressman's tendency to act like a teenage girl at a Taylor Swift concert.

• Trump was particularly displeased following a lunch meeting with Scalise and several others at the White House in 2020, Hutchinson recounts in the book, titled Enough. The president, she writes, complained that "Steve had been acting like an 'obsessed fan' with no concept of personal space."

• "[Scalise] kept bringing his chair closer to me, and getting close to my face when he spoke, like he doesn't know I can hear him fine," Trump complained after the meeting, according to Hutchinson, and "stressed several times that he did not want to be put in that situation again."

Analysis: Photographic evidence suggests Scalise may indeed be a close talker.