Rep. Jim Jordan: If House GOP Leaders Ignore House Freedom Caucus They Ignore Lessons of Trump’s Victory

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) speaks on an amendment. Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform met to consider a censure or IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke
Capitol Hill

The chairman of the House Freedom Caucus tells Fox Business host Lou Dobbs that House Republican leadership is making a big mistake if it ignores the members of his caucus and the Americans they represent.

Dobbs was interviewing Rep. Jim Jordan (R.-Ohio), who has led the band of 30-to-40 House conservatives since its 2015 founding.

“Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, commenting that Republican brass don’t plan to count to the conservatives anymore that reads Freedom Caucus, as well, and forecast a less influential caucus and an establishment that has a free hand because of the election of Donald Trump,” said Dobbs. “Do you suppose Kevin McCarthy has just missed the entire point of that past year and a half?”

Jordan told Dobbs the HFC was created to address the problems of middle-class and working Americans.

“Along comes a candidate, who’s now the President-Elect, who ran a campaign to stand up for working class and middle class families and take on the establishment–and, somehow, because all that took place, the relevance and influence of the Freedom Caucus has diminished?” he asked. “I think most people would say no.”

The Ohio congressman said the election of Donald J. Trump as president in November was not a signal that it was now acceptable to return to business as usual.

“That’s my big concern. And, that’s why we have to focus on doing what we told the voters we would do, doing what they sent us here to do,” he said.

“If we do that, we’re going to have the country back on the right path and do things that just make good common sense and help everyone across this great nation,” he said. “It’s about the American people. It’s about the American people who sent us here to do certain things that we campaigned on. If we focus on that, then we’ll get America back on the right path which is good for everybody.”

Unlike other Republicans, the members of the House Freedom Caucus understood why Trump was resonating with voters, Jordan said.

“We were on the right track, we were fighting for the right things, and where Donald Trump is pushing for those very things the voters sent us here to do, he’s going to have us helping in every way we can to make sure they happen,” he said.

“My biggest concern is the establishment has a way of taking good ideas that the American people want done like what we just got through talking about–the establishment has a way of watering all those down and preventing the very things that people elected us to do and to get done,” said Jordan, who also led the Republican Study Committee. The RSC was the conservative bloc inside the House Republican Conference until the wave of new members in 2011 from the Tea Party’s electoral wave in 2010.

Many of the 87 freshmen GOP congressman, who rode the Tea Party wave were not actually conservatives, but they joined the RSC to establish their bona fides. What should have been a boon for the RSC was destruction as an effective force on Capitol Hill. Its membership swelled to 170 members, but 70-to-80 of its members routinely broke from the RSC line to support struck by the House GOP leaders and President Barack Obama and the Democrats.

For Jordan the situation became untenable and created an opening for Speaker John A. Boehner (R.-Ohio) to replace push Jordan out and replace him with Rep. Steve Scalise (R.-La.) for the 2013-2015 congressional session. Under Scalise, the RSC no longer opposed leadership’s agenda items and it became obvious to committed House conservatives that if the RSC no longer functioned as a conservative bloc, they needed to start one themselves, the House Freedom Caucus.

In the next session of Congress, Rep. Mark R. Meadows (R.-N.C.) is running unopposed to succeed Jordan at the House Freedom Caucus chairman.

Watch Rep. Jim Jordan with Fox Business host Lou Dobbs: