Ohio Republican Jim Jordan, a staunch Trump ally accused of ignoring wrestlers' sex-abuse reports, announces bid to become next House speaker

  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told his colleagues Thursday that he plans to run for speaker of the House.
  • The conservative Jordan's bid to replace Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin — who is not seeking re-election to his seat in Congrress — comes as Jordan supports a new effort to impeach deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
  • It also comes as Jordan faces allegations that while serving as an assistant coach on the wrestling team of Ohio State University he turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of wrestlers by the team medical doctor.
Rep. Jim Jordan
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Rep. Jim Jordan

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told his colleagues Thursday that he plans to run for speaker of the House.

The conservative Jordan's bid to succeed Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin — who is not seeking re-election to his seat in Congress — comes as Jordan supports a new effort to impeach deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

It also comes as Jordan faces allegations that, while serving as an assistant coach on the wrestling team of Ohio State University, he turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of wrestlers by the team medical doctor.

"Should the American people entrust us with the majority again in the 116th Congress, I plan to run for Speaker of the House to bring real change to the House of Representatives," Jordan said in a prepared statement. "President Trump has taken bold action on behalf of the American people. Congress has not held up its end of the deal, but we can change that. It's time to do what we said."

Jordan, who has denied being aware of alleged sexual abuse by OSU's team doctor, told NBC News that the ongoing probe by the university into the allegations will not affect his run for speaker.

"No, everyone can see through that story," he told reporters. "I've talked to numerous of my colleagues, and they can all see through that story." Rep. Mark Meadows, the North Carolina Republican who heads the conservative Freedom Caucus, of which Jordan is also a leading member, said he supported Jordan's run for speaker.

Jordan is already receiving the backing from conservative political advocacy group Freedom Works. In a statement on Thursday, the organizations president, Adam Brandon, said they would be committing half a million dollars in a campaign to help elect Jordan to become the next speaker.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, has said he would like to be the next speaker, but has not formally announced a bid for the gavel.

Ryan has endorsed McCarthy as his successor.

On Thursday, when NBC News asked about Jordan's candidacy, McCarthy said, "I'm spending the time keeping the majority."