Fox News cancels plan for Speaker debate amid GOP backlash

October 6, 2023

Plans for a televised Fox News forum with three contenders for House Speaker fell apart Friday amid backlash from Republican members of the House.

Fox News had announced earlier in the day that anchor Bret Baier is set to host a televised forum of the three candidates who’ve so far indicated they’d like to replace ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Speaker of the House.

The event was scheduled for 6pm ET Monday on Fox News. The three potential candidates—House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Republican Study Committee chair Kevin Hern (R-OK)—had all been invited to participate. 

Jordan and Scalise have formally announced their bids for the Speakership already. Hern has said he’s considering a formal bid but has not yet launched one.

Former President Trump flirted with the idea of running for Speaker but has instead thrown his endorsement behind Jordan. It’s unclear whether Trump would be eligible, anyway; though anyone—not just House members—can run for the Speakership, House Republican rules state that “a member of the Republican Leadership shall step aside if indicted for a felony for which a sentence of two or more years imprisonment may be imposed.”

The former President is currently facing a total of 91 criminal counts amid four separate indictments at both the state—New York and Georgia—and federal levels. If he were found guilty on all counts, Trump could potentially be facing a total of 136 years in prison.

In a first in U.S. history, McCarthy was ousted from the Speakership Tuesday when a vote on a motion to vacate, brought by far-right Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), passed 216-210. Eight Republicans, including Gaetz, sided with Democrats who voted en masse in favor of no confidence.

Despite the cancelation of the Fox News forum, the Republican conference was scheduled to host a closed-door forum Tuesday.

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