Rosendale, Zinke react as U.S. House remains without a speaker
HELENA (KPAX) — The U.S. House is set to go into another week without a speaker, after the candidacy of Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, ended on Friday.
Both of Montana’s House members expressed support for Jordan ahead of Friday’s speaker vote, in which Jordan received 194 Republican votes, but 25 party members voted against him – leaving him short of the 217-vote majority needed to win the speakership. After the vote, Republicans met in a closed session and voted not to move forward with Jordan as their designated candidate.
Rep. Matt Rosendale, representing Montana’s eastern congressional district, is one of eight Republicans who voted, along with Democrats, to “vacate the chair” and remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California – which led to this current situation. Rosendale has been a strong supporter of Jordan, who’s considered one of the staunchest conservatives in the House, as McCarthy’s replacement.
“He's a guy that fights very hard for our country,” Rosendale told MTN Friday. “He fights for the people's rights – he truly does. I have now and always have had a very high regard and respect for Jim. I consider him a friend. Across the nation, Jim Jordan is the second-most-popular Republican in the country, second only to Donald J. Trump. And so to see him not be able to secure the speaker's seat, I think really sums up what we're dealing with within the conference.”
Rosendale told MTN he believed most of the opposition to Jordan wasn’t specifically about him, but about anger within the party about McCarthy’s removal. In response to that, he shared a letter on social media Friday morning, in which he and other Republicans who opposed McCarthy said they stood behind their action, but offered to accept censure or other consequences if the remaining holdouts would allow Jordan to take the speaker’s position.
“If you want to direct anger at someone, place it upon us,” Rosendale said. “We'll take the retribution, the repercussions for that in the form of censure or removal from the conference or suspension, whatever – so long as we can continue to move Jim Jordan forward as the speaker of the House, because we truly believe that that is in the best interests of the conference and the country.”
Rosendale says, with Jordan’s speaker candidacy over, that letter is now moot.
Rep. Ryan Zinke, who represents Montana’s western congressional district, was traveling back to Montana Friday afternoon and wasn’t available for an interview. In the last few days, he too called publicly for Republicans to unite behind Jordan.
Zinke posted on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Friday evening.
“@Jim_Jordan is a patriot who’s fought hard for this country & I was proud to vote for him,” he said. “I respect his decision to step back. I look forward to electing a speaker who can lead the House in securing the border & passing funding bills to reign in Biden’s anti-American spending.”
A new group of Republican candidates is now coming forward seeking to become speaker. The Republican conference is set to meet Monday evening to hear from those candidates, and to vote on a new speaker-designate on Tuesday morning.
The full House cannot take up any business except selecting a speaker until one is chosen, but Rosendale told MTN committee work is continuing. He said, despite the upheaval of this process, he still believed voting to remove McCarthy would be the right decision in the long run, to force a change in the way House leaders do business.
“There's a lot of folks that do not like to see conflict whatsoever – they want to see unity, we always hear that, we want to have unity within the party,” he said. “But the folks that elected me and sent me to Washington are more concerned about saving our country than they are about having unity within the party.”