Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has floated an idea that would see him return to the speakership, but this time with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, serving as assistant speaker, according to NBC News.
McCarthy declined to confirm the Hail Mary proposal when asked by Fox News’ Chad Pergram on Wednesday. The reported pitch comes as Republicans have failed to fill the speaker’s chair for nearly a month, with three consecutive nominees being struck down by in-fighting.
It is unclear whether the latest nominee, Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., stands a better chance than those who came before him. The first nominee, Rep. Steve Scalise, was brought down by allies of Jordan. Scalise and McCarthy’s allies then crippled Jordan’s nomination in turn. Finally, Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., faced an all-out assault by former President Donald Trump, who opposed his nomination.
It is also unclear whether a co-speakership position is even possible, however, and one GOP lawmaker told NBC that the McCarthy-Jordan idea had only come about because, “We’re desperate.”
Proponents of the deal likened it to the relationship that had existed between Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as speaker and Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., as assistant speaker from 2021-2023, the outlet reported.
When Pergram asked McCarthy about the potential arrangement late Tuesday, the Republican declined to confirm it and said only that “Republicans are talking.”
If the plan were to come to fruition, however, Johnson’s nomination would have to deflate first. Johnson received 128 votes in the final round of voting at an internal GOP meeting on Tuesday with Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., getting 29.
McCarthy also got 43 votes in the same round, sources told Fox News Digital.
The night began with five speaker candidates making their pitches to the conference before voting began. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., was the first candidate knocked out of the running, followed by Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, in the second round of voting.
Emmer won multiple rounds of voting earlier in the day to become the party’s nominee before being forced to drop his bid in the face of staunch opposition from within the conference, as well as from Trump.
Fox News’ Elizibeth Elkind and Houston Keene contributed to this report.