The GOP is rewarding some of those who stood with — and even assisted — then-President Donald Trump in efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
GUEST BLOG / By Dean Obeidallah, CNN--The House GOP leadership sent a clear message last week by choosing 11 representatives who voted against certifying the 2020 election to serve as one of the 17 House committee chairs — including Rep. Jim Jordan.
These new committee chairs include Jordan of the powerful Judiciary Committee; Rep. Mike Rogers, the new Armed Services Committee chairman; and Rep. Mark Green, who now heads the Committee on Homeland Security. All voted not to certify the 2020 election results after living through the vicious January 6 attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters seeking to “Stop the Steal.”
I find Jordan the most alarming of the bunch. As the January 6 committee’s report lays out in detail, Jordan did more than simply vote not to certify the 2020 results. Rather, he was “a significant player in President Trump’s efforts” to overturn the election.
The bipartisan January 6 committee’s report notes that Jordan “participated in numerous post-election meetings in which senior White House officials, Rudolph Giuliani, and others, discussed strategies for challenging the election, chief among them claims that the election had been tainted by fraud.” (The election wasn’t “tainted by fraud,” which all the courts that considered such claims by Trump and his allies back up.)
Jordan has dismissed the January 6 committee’s investigation as one of the Democrats’ “partisan witch hunts.” In a 2022 letter to committee Chair Bennie Thompson, he insisted that “I have no relevant information that would assist the Select Committee in advancing any legitimate legislative purpose.” He also asserted he has been “consistent in denouncing political violence and supporting law enforcement personnel.”
The report also documents Jordan’s role in the effort to prevent the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. For example, it details that on “January 2, 2021, Representative Jordan led a conference call in which he, President Trump, and other Members of Congress discussed strategies for delaying the January 6th joint session.” During that call, they talked not only strategy for the January 6 certification process but also “discussed issuing social media posts encouraging President Trump’s supporters to ‘march to the Capitol’ on the 6th.” After that conference call on January 2, Jordan spoke to Trump for 18 minutes in a one-on-one phone conversation, according to the report.
But the Ohio Republican was not done. “Jordan texted Mark Meadows (Trump’s chief of staff), passing along advice that Vice President (Mike) Pence should ‘call out all the electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all,’ ” the January 6 committee report says.
The January 6 committee's devastating conclusions The report notes other interactions between Jordan and Trump, including phone calls at least twice on January 6, 2021. However, as the report highlights — Jordan made “inconsistent public statements about how many times they spoke and what they discussed” that day.
These inconsistencies made Jordan’s testimony before the January 6 committee imperative. But the congressman refused to comply with the committee’s subpoena seeking his testimony. Given that the committee was winding down with the GOP’s takeover of the House this month, the most it could do was refer Jordan — and other Republicans who defied subpoenas such as newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy — to the House Ethics Committee.
If Jordan and others who ignored the subpoenas are “left unpunished,” the committee’s report notes, it “undermines Congress’s longstanding power to investigate in support of its lawmaking authority.”
The GOP House leadership — via the GOP Steering Committee that chooses committee chairs — not only didn’t punish Jordan, it elevated him to chairman of the Judiciary Committee. And recently, Jordan announced an investigation into Biden over the recently discovered classified documents at the President’s former office and home. Jordan will now be investigating the very President he tried to prevent from taking power.
But Jordan is not the only lawmaker who would seem to have no place as a House committee chairman. There’s also Green, who now heads the House Committee on Homeland Security. The concerns about Green go beyond his voting to prevent the certification of the 2020 election to include a history of anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ comments.
In 2017, Trump nominated Green as secretary of the Army. As a Tennessee state senator, Green had championed legislation to make it easier to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans, and he told an online radio show he opposed transgender equality because in his view as a public official he was required to “crush evil.” During a 2016 tea party meeting, he denounced teaching children about the Islamic faith in schools unless it was focused on “the assault of Islam” on others.
Green’s remarks were so controversial that the late GOP Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, expressed concern. Given the backlash, Green withdrew his name from consideration as Army secretary. But now he has been elevated to the coveted position of a committee chair after being elected to Congress in 2018. The House GOP is telling the nation who it believes deserving of positions of power — and that is people who put service to Trump over the interests of our country.
That’s the very definition of un-American.