US President Joe Biden gave a curt answer to a reporter’s question about the failed efforts of his frequent critic, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives.
Jordan, founding chairman of the far-right Freedom Caucus and current chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has been a vocal critic of the Biden administration and served as one of the leaders of the Republican Party’s impeachment inquiry. Jordan, a prominent ally of former President Donald Trump who was backed by the MAGA leader in his bid for the gavel, failed to win enough Republican support in the House.
The Democratic president answered questions from reporters during his flight home from Tel Aviv on Wednesday, where he was asked to comment on Jordan’s bid for speaker.
“Do you think Jim Jordan will fail to secure the speakership in his current predicament?” a reporter asked Biden.
“I’m hurting for him,” Biden replied, prompting laughter from reporters on the flight, before adding: “No. Zero. No.”
A video of the president’s succinct response was shared by MSNBC on X, formerly Twitter.
Republicans are scrambling to choose the next leader of the House of Representatives after conservative hardliners made a successful attempt to fire former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for a short-term government funding deal he negotiated with Democrats to avoid a possible shutdown to prevent government. The leadership shakeup has thrown the House of Representatives into chaos as the U.S. is under pressure to support its wartime allies Israel and Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, failed for the second time to garner enough support in his bid to become the next speaker of the House. Jordan received just 199 votes, with 22 Republicans voting against him, two more than in his failed first vote on Tuesday. All 212 House Democrats agreed to vote for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries on both ballots.
Newsweek emailed representatives for Biden and Jordan on Wednesday seeking comment.
Jordan is the second Republican candidate to replace McCarthy, who was removed from office in an unprecedented bid by Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz earlier this month. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise withdrew his nomination last week after failing to receive enough support.
However, there is little evidence that Jordan can muster the support needed to secure the 217 votes needed to become speaker. He lost for the second time on Wednesday, falling short by 18 votes.
With the House narrowly divided with 221 Republicans and 212 Democrats, Jordan can only lose five Republican votes as not a single Democrat has expressed willingness to cross the aisle to support the MAGA ally.
Despite the two failed attempts, Jordan said a third vote on his candidacy for speaker was scheduled for midday Thursday. The Ohio Republican remained confident nonetheless, telling CNN that he believes he can still win the gavel.