If Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) becomes the next speaker, he might get a lot more attention than he is bargaining for.
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When Republicans complain about “witch hunts” or the “weaponization of the justice system” every time Donald Trump is charged with a crime, they are right about one thing: If he were still a just shady businessman who occasionally cons people and uses his wealth as a weapon, he would be in much less legal trouble.
On the one hand, that’s because he is now committing different types of crimes. As a failed real estate developer, he would not have staged coups or gotten his hands on classified documents that he could then store next to his golden toilet.
Furthermore, if he had been just another white-collar criminal who cheats on his taxes, runs a fake “university” that dupes gullible fools out of their money, doesn’t pay contractors, or overinflates the value of his properties in order to get better loans, there is a good chance that he would have been able to escape any kind of substantial punishment.
After all, most white-collar criminals do.
However, once he ran for president, there was just more of an incentive for journalists, opposition researchers, and prosecutors wanting to make a name for themselves to go after him.
For another example of this, take Rep. George Santos (R-NY), who is probably regretting his decision to run for Congress right now.
The same is true for high-profile Democrats.
Just ask Hunter Biden. If his dad had not run for president, he would just be another screwup nobody is paying attention to.
The point is that, once you run for office, you put a target on your back. And the higher the office, the bigger the target.
The list of people in both parties who have found this out the hard way is very long, and it makes one wonder why anybody with a secret or a shady past would ever want to seek higher office.
And that brings us to Jim Jordan (R-OH), who is trying to become the GOP’s next speaker nominee today.
He very well might succeed. Right now, the race is down to him and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), although in this chaotic Republican conference, anything can happen.
But Jordan might want to be careful what he wishes for. If he does emerge victorious and then goes on to become speaker, he is going to be subject to a whole new level of scrutiny — certainly more than he was used to as just another right-wing backbencher during the first part of his political career, as one of Trump’s top defenders more recently, and chairman of the Judiciary Committee this year.
And there are plenty of indications that Jordan may end up not liking this new level of attention.
Case in point is a story that NBC News ran on Tuesday.
The article is about four of the Ohio State University wrestlers who have accused Jordan of looking the other way while they fell victim to a sexual predator, and how they feel that, because of this, he is not suited to become speaker.
For example, the story quotes Rocky Ratliff, who is both an alleged victim and a lawyer representing some of the plaintiffs suing the university over what happened. He said that Jordan “abandoned his former wrestlers in the Ohio State sexual abuse scandal and cover-up.”
Obviously, the underlying story isn’t new. However, when Jordan was “just” another member of Congress, his role in the scandal received less attention than it will now.
All of a sudden, there is a new incentive to talk to the victims and to find out exactly what he did and did not know or do while hundreds of students were sexually abused by school doctor Richard Strauss.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that this matter is still being litigated, and Jordan could very well end up on the stand.
Speaking of testifying — or rather not testifying — it also seems likely that his role in another high-profile crime and cover-up will receive renewed attention: Trump’s attempted coup.
The lawmaker, whom former speaker John Boehner (R-OH) once called a “political terrorist,” was a vocal election denier and had a hand in the events of January 6.
We do not know how involved because Jordan defied a subpoena to testify, but chances are that his actions will receive additional attention if he does ascend to the top job in the House and become second in line for the presidency.
And that might be the only positive outcome should he prevail and make history as the most right-wing speaker in history.