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Trump’s Speaker Gamble Backfires: A Reality Check on The Overestimated Worth of His Political Capital



Despite Donald Trump throwing his weight behind Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the outcome went south for Trump.
Despite Donald Trump endorsing Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Republicans nominated Steve Scalise for House Speaker. (Image: DB)

It seems that the magic of Donald Trump’s endorsement is losing its allure within the Republican Party as evidenced by the recent House speaker nomination saga. Despite the former president throwing his weight behind Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the outcome went south for Trump.

On Wednesday, House Republicans opted for Representative Steve Scalise as their candidate for the next House speaker, delivering a significant blow to Trump’s influence. While Trump used to be the kingmaker in primary races with a mere endorsement, the House speaker contest exposed a more intricate political landscape, challenging the assumption that his approval is a surefire ticket to success.

Despite Trump’s knack for clearing the field in congressional primaries with a single endorsement, the House speaker’s race proved to be a different battleground altogether. The intricate dynamics of an intraparty fight, coupled with the fallout from McCarthy’s ouster, revealed a more complex landscape where Trump’s stamp of approval was not the game-changer it once was.

This surprising development raises questions about the enduring strength of Trump’s influence over the GOP.

Trump allies, led by firebrand Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, had orchestrated McCarthy’s removal and driven much of the House GOP’s agenda. However, the recent speaker nomination of Steve Scalise over Trump’s preferred candidate, Jordan, signals a potential fracture in the once-unwavering loyalty of House Republicans to the Trump brand.

Critics within the party, long concerned about Trump’s electability and the impact on down-ballot races, may see this as a moment of reckoning. The GOP, heading toward another presidential election with Trump as the presumed 2024 front-runner, now confronts the reality that his sway over the party might not be as foolproof as previously thought.

The lack of response from Trump’s camp following Scalise’s nomination speaks volumes about the unexpected blow to his political capital. The years since leaving the White House have seen Trump diverge from established norms by endorsing scores of candidates who align with his “America First” vision, aiming to reshape the House and Senate in his image. However, the recent setback suggests that the landscape of Trump’s influence is diminishing, raising questions about the future trajectory of the Republican Party and the role Trump will play in it.