Fox News has reportedly canceled a debate between Republican candidates for the speakership of the House of Representatives after multiple candidates withdrew from the planned program on Friday.
Fox News had announced that it would host a forum between House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan — the two candidates who have announced campaigns for the job — as well as Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern, who is considering a campaign, to discuss their suitability for the job, from which Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California was removed on Tuesday. However, following criticism from House Republicans, all three candidates decided to withdraw from the conversation, which led Fox News to cancel the whole program, according to multiple reports. (RELATED: Trump Says He’d Accept The House Speakership Temporarily)
“I will not be participating in the televised debate,” Hern wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We need to make this decision as a conference, not on TV. The Republican conference needs a family discussion.” Following Hern’s decision, Scalise and Jordan reportedly spoke with each other and decided against participating, a source familiar with the matter told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Rep. @Jim_Jordan on the Speaker vote: “We shouldn’t go to the House Floor until we have 218 votes”
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) October 6, 2023
The House Republican Conference has been divided over its leadership since the beginning of the 118th Congress. At the time, McCarthy’s effort to obtain the speakership was prolonged by 15 rounds of voting after some conservative members, led by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, refused to support him unless he made significant concessions to their interests in the direction and rules of the House, including a provision that allowed one member to bring a motion to vacate the chair and remove McCarthy from the speakership.
That parliamentary maneuver was executed on Tuesday after Gaetz led the passage of his motion to vacate, relying on eight Republicans as well as the entirety of the House Democratic Caucus, with the vote being 216-210. Gaetz cited McCarthy’s decision to seek Democratic votes to pass a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown on Sept. 30, in alleged violation of an agreement in January, as his reason for doing so.
Apart from Scalise, Jordan and Hern, some Republican lawmakers have called for former President Donald Trump, the leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, to serve as the speaker of the House. The Constitution imposes no qualifications on the office of speaker, which would enable Trump to assume the job.
“President Trump can attend the Speaker Candidate Forum on Tuesday and I plan to nominate him in our conference meeting,” tweeted Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. “If Trump becomes Speaker of the House, the House chamber will be like a Trump rally every day!! It would be the House of MAGA!!!” she tweeted separately.
Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry has said that the House Republican Conference will select a nominee for the job by Wednesday. The Democratic Caucus, meanwhile, has united behind its leader, Hakeem Jeffries, in the race.
Fox News referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to a video where anchor Bret Baier addressed the cancellation. “They had all agreed, the pressure built [and] then that’s what happened,” said Baier on Fox News, adding that “we’re still going to do the show on Capitol Hill and we’re booking some interesting guests there, as well.”
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