House GOP leaders tapped Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan Friday to join the Intelligence Committee for the impeachment hearings beginning today. Jordan, who team Trump desperately wanted on the Intelligence Committee to defend the president, has been not only a loyal supporter of President Donald Trump, but has endorsed conspiracy theories, compared the right’s efforts to beat President Obama in 2012 to overcoming slavery, and has been accused of turning a blind eye to sexual assault at Ohio University during his time as an assistant wrestling coach there.
Jordan is a favorite among right-wing activists. When a group affiliated with the Koch brothers launched a petition campaign to encourage Jordan to run for House Speaker in 2018, the signers were a veritable who’s who of the right, including the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, the Eagle Forum’s Eunie Smith, and anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy.
Ed Martin, president of Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, lauded House GOP leaders for appointing Jordan.
“We look forward to Rep. Jordan bringing down the sledgehammer of truth in cross examination during these farcical hearings,” Martin said in a statement Tuesday. “It’s time for Republicans to bring some grit to this fight. Because they feel the heat of Trump’s success, the Deep State will stop at nothing to derail the Trump Agenda of transparency and America First. Leader McCarthy made the right move appointing Jim Jordan to HSPCI.”
In 2013, Jordan endorsed a conspiracy theory that the U.S. government was buying bullets in an effort to limit their availability to gun owners. In a conversation with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins at the time, Perkins suggested that the Department of Homeland Security was “hoarding ammunition” as a “way for the president to keep Americans from having ammo by having the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies buy it all up.”
Jordan responded, “Yep. Two things are happening, you are exactly right, Americans are purchasing a record level of firearms and ammunition. I think it points to just the lack of trust they have in this administration and this administration’s attack on our Second Amendment liberties and our Second Amendment rights and Americans are justifiably concerned about that.”
Jordan also compared conservative Republican turnout in the 2012 Republican primaries with the aim of beating President Obama to “when we had this evil of slavery that Americans said ‘we will get rid of this and we will keep the union together,’” Right Wing Watch reported in 2012. In response to a question from Perkins about evangelical turnout, Jordan said:
There is an anxiousness that American feel about their country, they think there is just something not right and they feel this anxiousness, they know there are real concerns, a real change in direction, a real change from what we view and value of what America has always been so you are seeing people of faith step forward and participate in a big way, which is exactly what we want to see happen.
John Fund, I heard him give a speech and it’s interesting, and it kind of parallels what Senator Blunt said, he said it’s every third generation that has to do something big in this country. He started with the Founders who put it on the line, lost their lives and many of them lost their business, we remember Franklin, Jefferson and Adams but most of them lost everything, and then it was three generations later when we had this evil of slavery that Americans said ‘we will get rid of this and we will keep the union together,’ three generations later those people in America at that time said we can deal with the Great Depression and we can deal with the evils of Nazism in the Second [World] War and we can with that. And they did it. Now here we are three generations later and it is our turn. It is our turn to do what Esther did way back when, it is our turn to do what they did at the founding, and at the Civil War and at the Second War, it is our turn.
In 2018, a former Ohio State University wrestler publicly accused Jordan of being aware that Ohio State doctor Richard Strauss had molested the wrestler and of doing nothing. Multiple Ohio State wrestlers have said that it would be impossible for Jordan to be unaware of the assaults that were so commonplace they were joked about. Jordan has denied knowing anything about the sexual assaults.
On Thursday last week, Jordan was accused by a second person, an Ohio state referee, of ignoring his complaints that the disgraced doctor had masturbated in front of him in the showers after a wrestling match in 1994. According to the complaint, Jordan and another coach replied to the referee’s account of the incident, saying, “Yeah, that’s Strauss.”
The next day, Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tapped Jordan to replace Arkansas Rep. Rick Crawford on the Intelligence Committee.