Utah Sen. Mitt Romney criticized House Republicans for allowing such a small minority within the GOP to call the shots, by selecting Republican Rep. Jim Jordan to be their speaker.
Romney spoke with “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell in an exclusive interview, as House Republicans continue to struggle to elect a permanent speaker, after a handful of hardliners in the party ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy from the post earlier this month. The path forward for Republicans and the House remains uncertain,in the first round of voting Tuesday afternoon. He can only afford to lose four Republicans.
“Well it does seem like the Republicans in the House are letting the tail wag the dog,” Romney said. “The great majority of the Republicans in the House, I think, would like to have someone that represents the mainstream of our party. Jim Jordan represents a small part of the party, but a very vocal part of the party. And they’ve been calling the shots.”
“He’s probably not the first choice I would’ve made, but it’s not my choice, it’s up to them,” Romney said. “Whether he’ll get the job or not, I don’t know. But if he does get the job, it’ll be a case of the dog catching the car, which is, what happens then?”
Romney added, “There are people in my party who go to Washington to bark, to make noise — not to make law, but to make noise. I think Jim Jordan would call himself one of those, who’s got a lot to say and is loud and barking, but actually passing law, getting law that’s signed, not just by members of the House, but also in the Senate and by the president. That’s a different matter, and we’ll see whether he rises to the occasion if he becomes speaker.”
But in over 15 years in Congress, not a single bill authored by Jordan has become law. Instead, Jordan has made a name for himself as a hardliner who has kept the Republican Party from implementing more moderate measures, and has launched investigation after investigation into Democratic White Houses.
Jordan’s allies hail him as a fighter, while his critics suggest he’s in the business of creating unproductive internal friction. Republican infighting has at times frustrated Romney, whothat he won’t be running for reelection next year. The 2012 GOP nominee for president will retire after one term as a U.S. senator.
“I spent my last 25 years in public service of one kind or another,” Romney said in a video posted on social media last month. “At the end of another term, I’d be in my mid-80s. Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders.”
Watch more of O’Donnell’s interview with Romney on CBS Sunday Morning.