In All Candor // A conversation with Congressman Jim Jordan

U.S. representative Jim Jordan speaks at a campaign rally at the I-X center.

Ohio’s 4th Congressional District Representative Jim Jordan (born February 17, 1964) is undoubtedly one of the most colorful members of the United States Congress. A former collegiate wrestler and wrestling coach, he was elected to Congress in 2007 and has been outspoken about his opinions and political positions ever since.

A staunch conservative, Jordan is a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, serving as its first chair from 2015 to 2017, and as its vice chair since 2017. He was also the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee from 2019 to 2020, a position he vacated to become the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.

After the election of Donald Trump, Jordan became one of his closest allies. During the impeachment hearings, he was one of his most blunt and articulate defenders, and he staged a sit-in to prevent a hearing over the Trump-Ukraine matter. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Trump on January 11, 2021. 

He has also proven himself to be an unwavering friend of the State of Israel. I spoke to Representative Jordan last week.

I would imagine that you’re frustrated by the new policies being put into place day after day by the Biden administration. 

I don’t think anyone believed it could get this bad in only ten months, but they’ve messed up everything they tried to do. We went from having a secure border to chaos, from energy independence to the president begging OPEC to increase production, from relatively safe streets to rising crime in every major urban area, and from stable prices to the highest inflation in 30 years—not to mention America’s falling standing in the world. Of course, what I’m most concerned about is what they’ve done to our liberties, our First Amendment, Fourth Amendment and Second Amendment rights. So it’s as bad as it can be. 

Let’s talk about inflation first, which as you mentioned is at a 30-year high. Do you see any light at the end of the tunnel? Is there anything that can be done? They just passed this huge spending bill, which will certainly contribute to making inflation worse. 

Well, the best thing to do would be to not pass the next big spending bill, which they are going to try to do through reconciliation. Biden may call it Build Back Better, but frankly, I think it will be Build Back Worse if it’s passed. So the first thing is not to spend the additional $2 trillion, which is actually more because of the accounting they’re putting into the legislation. If they don’t spend that it will help tremendously, but the Democrats’ basic economic plan is the dumbest I’ve ever seen: lock down the economy, spend like crazy, pay people not to work, and then raise taxes on everyone who’s been working. This is so wrong, but we are dealing with leftists who are committed to big government, so they will try to proceed. Our only hope is for Senators Manchin and Sinema to vote no, which will stop this thing from passing. 

Do you at least give credit to Joe Biden for being a man of his word when he said he would rule from the left?

If you remember, Joe Biden was supposed to be the moderate. He won the South Carolina primary by basically saying, “I’m not Bernie Sanders.” Then James Clyburn endorsed him in that primary, and his win was what sealed the deal for him to be the Democratic nominee. So he didn’t really keep his word. He was supposed to be the moderate, but he’s been as left as Bernie Sanders. In fact, he has done just the opposite of what he said he would do. I think that’s part of the reason for the disaster that has been the first ten months of his administration. 

In what does it manifest itself?

Everywhere: in the spending, the unconstitutional mandates, and the fact that we no longer have a border. Every consecutive month has been setting records with more border crossings than the one before. In one month alone, 212,000 illegal immigrant migrants were encountered on our border, and the total for the year is already 1.7 million. And it has all been driven by the fact that Biden has moved to the radical left. That is not what America is about. America is about freedom and the Constitution, not about big government. 

Do you think Biden is in full control, or is his administration being run by others?

It’s hard to believe that he’s able to make all the decisions. I don’t know if you saw the press conference after the debacle of the Afghanistan exit. But if you watched it, your thoughts were probably “Oh, my goodness! This guy just isn’t up to the task.” If he isn’t up to the task, then who’s making the decisions? I assume that Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Susan Rice, Jake Sullivan and some of these other people are involved with strategy and decision-making, but I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that under our constitutional system, the individual whose name is on the ballot and is elected to the office is supposed to make the decisions. If that’s not the case, it’s a big problem. 

Recently, the US abstained rather than veto a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli resolution. I know you’re a great friend of Israel, and that many Jewish people say you’re one of the greatest friends the Jewish people currently has in Congress. What was your reaction to that abstention?

It’s just plain wrong. We should stand up for our best friend and ally. As you probably know, my wife and I have been to the State of Israel five times, and we still want to go back. We’ve loved every trip we’ve ever taken there. It’s an amazing country, made up of amazing people. The idea that the Democrats were going to stop the funding for the Iron Dome system, which has been so effective at stopping rockets that are fired at Israel, knocking down thousands over the course of just a few weeks, was ridiculous. Then of course there was this action taken at the UN by the Biden administration, which was also wrong. It’s pretty basic that you help your friends and the people who share your values, which is the Judeo-Christian ethic that has served Western civilization so well. You defend and support that. That’s what’s so frustrating. 

Let’s discuss the Judeo-Christian ethic and your love of Israel. Do you think the two are intertwined? Is your love of Israel based on your religious faith?

Yes. The biggest supporters of Israel around the world are people who come from an evangelical background, because we understand the special relationship the Jewish State has with the Creator. It’s right there in Scripture. Then there’s the practical aspect, which is that here’s a democracy, a country that respects human rights and people’s ability to practice their faith, and has the same value system and rights as ours. Frankly, the rights we have under our Constitution and the rights that Israeli citizens enjoy all come from the same Mosaic law. That’s where it all started. We get that, and it used to be that our government got it too. President Trump certainly did. President Trump did exactly what he said he would do, which was to put the embassy in Jerusalem. The last time my wife and I were there was right before COVID, in February 2020, and we visited Trump Heights up in the Golan. It was really neat. It’s unfortunate that the Biden administration isn’t following in that great tradition, or carrying on the great things President Trump did relative to the State of Israel. 

I think the most surprising thing about Donald Trump was that he kept his word. A lot of people didn’t believe he would do that, not just to Israel but also to the working class. Yet he proved to be very stalwart in all of his commitments. 

More than any president—certainly in our lifetime but perhaps in history—he did what he said he would do, and he did it despite the strongest opposition we’ve ever seen. Every single Democrat was against him. Every single part of the mainstream press and bureaucracy was against him, and frankly, some of the Republicans were against him too. Nevertheless, on issue after issue, President Trump kept his word. He said he would cut taxes and he did. He said he would reduce regulation and he did. He said we would have a great economy and that he would put conservatives on the Court and he did. He said he would get us out of the Iran deal and out of the Paris Climate Accords, and he did. 

Now think about this. For as long as I can remember, every single presidential candidate, whether Republican or Democrat, said, “If you elect me, I will put the American Embassy in Jerusalem.” And no matter who it was, as soon as he got into office, he’d come up with reasons why he couldn’t do it. They all backed down in the face of international pressure. Everyone, that is, until President Trump, who said, “The voters elected me in part to do that, and I’m going to do it.” And guess what? It worked out great. Then he followed up with the Abraham Accords, and on and on it went. That’s what we need in all leaders, but certainly in the president of the United States. 

One thing we can agree he wasn’t successful in doing was cleaning up the Washington swamp, although that was likely through no fault of his own. 

Yes. He did more than anyone else, but you’re right: the swamp is still the swamp. But I think he’s going to run again, and I’ve already said that I want him to. If he does, I think he’ll win, and if he’s president in 2025, he’s going to clean house. I think he’ll fire everyone he’s allowed to fire, which will mean cleaning out the top levels of bureaucracy, which is exactly what’s needed. Then he’ll do what he campaigned on, which is how you’re supposed to handle elected office. 

I didn’t have the privilege of speaking with you during the Trump impeachment proceedings. You were one of his most articulate defenders. He has said more than once that not only did you defend him with passion but also with great articulation. Can you reflect for a moment on those episodes?

To read more, subscribe to Ami