Next time just RSVP “no,” dude.
If, as they’re widely expected to do, Republicans manage to wrest majority control of Congress from the pliant, unresponsive hands of the Democrats, there’s a not insignificant chance that Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan — he of “credibly accused of ignoring a prolific sex abuse scandal” fame — will become the next speaker of the House. Given that likelihood, you almost have to respect the transparent chutzpah on display in his just-released letter to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Insisting that “I have no relevant information that would assist the select committee in advancing any legitimate legislative purpose,” Jordan rambles on in his letter for several paragraphs of self- pity and indignation in the sort of performative outrage that comes from someone who definitely doesn’t have anything to hide, nope, no siree, nuh-uh. Beside, as Jordan made clear in his missive, “[e]ven if I had information to share with the select committee, the actions and statements of Democrats in the House of Representatives show that you are not conducting a fair-minded and objective inquiry.”
Just what, exactly, can we learn from Jordan’s novella? Nestled within his barrage of rhetorical “neener neener neeners” are a few key takeaways. Among them:
- The man who would be speaker thinks he can pick and choose which congressional committees he believes in, which doesn’t bode well for imagining his potential tenure as the third-most powerful elected official in the country.
- Jordan is a master of flooding the zone with enough obfuscation, whataboutism, and official-sounding legalese to almost — almost! — make a casual reader forget that he’s being asked to comply because, per the committee itself, he “had at least one and possibly multiple communications with President Trump on Jan. 6” and also might possess “information about meetings with White House officials and the then-President in November and December 2020, and early January 2021, about strategies for overturning the results of the 2020 election.”
- This is someone who has no remorse for his vote against certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory, and in fact apparently doesn’t even feel any political pressure to downplay it. Which is to say: Jordan remains a proud seditionist, even while insisting he’s got nothing to hide, and wouldn’t share his seditionist secrets to begin with.
Jordan had initially been scheduled to meet with the Jan. 6 committee after they reached out to him at the end of last year. At the time, the chairman of the committee, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson (D), noted in his request for Jordan’s cooperation that “We would also like to ask you about any discussions involving the possibility of presidential pardons for individuals involved in any aspect of Jan. 6 or the planning for Jan. 6.” Late last year. Rolling Stone reported that Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), an unapologetic white nationalist and enthusiastic seditionist, had promised Jan. 6 organizers blanket pardons from Trump for unrelated charges, as enticement for coordinating the rally-cum-riot.
In a statement to NBC News, a spokesperson for the Jan. 6 committee criticized Jordan’s apparent about-face on agreeing to participate with their investigative work, saying, “Mr. Jordan has admitted that he spoke directly to President Trump on Jan. 6 and is thus a material witness.”
“Mr. Jordan has previously said that he would cooperate with the committee’s investigation,” they continued. “But it now appears that the Trump team has persuaded him to try to hide the facts and circumstances.”
In Republican politics, that’s called “planning ahead.”