The GOP Defends Jim Jordan, Continues Pattern Of Excusing Sexual Abuse

As the Republican Party stands behind Jim Jordan, they once again stand against survivors of sexual abuse

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks next to Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., left, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., during a news conference with members of the Freedom Caucus where they called for a second prosecutor to investigate the Dept. of Justice and FBI, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks next to Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., left, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., during a news conference with members of the Freedom Caucus where they called for a second prosecutor to investigate the Dept. of Justice and FBI, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“Jim Jordan is a friend of mine. We haven’t always agreed with each other over the years. But I always have known Jim Jordan to be a man of honesty, and a man of integrity.”

That was Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Wednesday, defending Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) amid allegations that he was aware of the sexual abuse of multiple Ohio State University (OSU) wrestlers, and did nothing. This is one of many defenses, as House Republicans and conservative groups stand behind Rep. Jordan. There have been at least eight ex-OSU wrestlers who have come forward—including UFC fighter star Mark Coleman—alleging that then-Assistant Coach Jordan was directly made aware of the allegations that medical doctor Richard Strauss was sexually abusing wrestlers, and ignored their reports of abuse. Here’s the allegation from the eighth wrestler:

The ex-wrestler, who chose to make his allegation anonymously, said that he had personally told Jordan, “Strauss held my balls longer than normal,” and that Jordan “just snickered.” He further recalled telling Jordan “something to the effect of ‘his hands are cold as s**t; he checked out every hair on my ball,’” and the assistant coach replying, “I have nothing to do with this,” and then walking away.

Jordan himself has changed his story, first claiming no knowledge, and then claiming that “conversations in a locker room” aren’t the same as formally reporting abuse. Undercutting those claims, TPM has since reported that the head coach Jordan worked for, was aware of the allegations.

In light of this, the Republican Party has done what they’ve always done in the face of sexual misconduct allegations: deny, deflect, defend, and defame the accusers. Paul Ryan has gone as far as to shoot down calls for the Ethics Committee to investigate the allegations because it happened a “couple decades ago.”

Speaker Ryan was just the latest to defend Jordan. All 40 members of the Republican House Freedom Caucus voted to stand behind Jordan, with its Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) stating the caucus is unified in their support. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a fellow member of the Freedom Caucus, attempted to tie these allegations to the false “deep state conspiracy” narrative they use to try and undermine the Russia investigation.

The President himself, who has been accused by at least 16 women of sexual misconduct, has chimed in defending Jordan, using the same tactics he used to defend himself.

“I don’t believe them at all. I believe him. Jim Jordan is one of the most outstanding people I’ve met since I’ve been in Washington. I believe him 100 percent. No question in my mind. I believe Jim Jordan 100 percent. He’s an outstanding man.”

This fits into a pattern the Republican Party has perpetuated, and they’re using the same tactics of denial, deflection, defense, and defamation.

After then-Candidate Donald Trump’s accusations of sexual misconduct and the Access Hollywood “grab em by the pussy” tape were leaked in the Fall of 2016, Trump attacked the accusers, panning them as liars (which led to Summer Zervos’ defamation suit, which is gaining ground week after week). Republicans distanced themselves, only to back him once again.

Even pedophilia couldn’t churn the GOP’s support. After Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore was credibly accused of and sexually assaulting underage girls, Moore attacked the accusers, and his supporters minimized it as being decades ago. The RNC briefly pulled funding, only to resume in the home stretch of the race. President Trump stood by Moore throughout the race. To his credit, Speaker Ryan called the allegations credible and called on Moore to step aside, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said it was up the people of Alabama to decide. Alabama decided accordingly.

Although some House Republicans have chosen to resign after allegations of abuse were directed at them, for the most part, the Republican Party continues to drop the ball when it comes to #MeToo movement. With a President who mocks the movement, both verbally and through his continued occupation of the Oval Office, it comes as no surprise.

Opinion // Donald Trump / GOP / Jim Jordan / Republican Party