The House GOP Slo-Mo Trainwreck Enters Its Third Week

INSIDE: Jim Jordan ... Steve Scalise ... Jack Smith
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 17: Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, center, the Republican nominee for speaker of the House, is seen on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol before he did not receive enough votes to become speaker on... UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 17: Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, center, the Republican nominee for speaker of the House, is seen on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol before he did not receive enough votes to become speaker on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., appears at left.(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

Behold The Chaos

Most of the time, Morning Memo tries to provide you with a complete snapshot of the current state of play on the biggest stories of the day. The past few days that’s become nearly impossible, because of the fluid, uncertain, and chaotic nature of the House GOP.

Without a process to follow, or a consensus around which to build things, or any particular ideological flavor to the breakdown, each day is an open-ended exercise in personal advancement, score-settling, and posturing leading nowhere.

Yes, at some level it’s true that the House GOP is ignoring the nation’s real business in the midst of their own internal meltdown, but the dynamics of the current situation are the same as has bogged down the conference from policymaking, dealmaking, and normal legislating for a long time now. There’s no real reason to think that once they’re over this hump – whenever that may be – that we’d get anything approaching normal in the aftermath.

How The (First?) Vote Went

Of the 432 votes cast, the tally for speaker was as follows:

Jeffries: 212
Jordan: 200
Scalise: 7
McCarthy: 6
Zeldin: 3
Garcia: 1
Emmer: 1
Cole: 1
Massie: 1

It’s notable that the anti-Jordan votes weren’t just vulnerable members. Appropriations Committee Chair Kay Granger (R-TX) voted against him.

‘Revenge Of The Squishes’

Politico’s Rachael Bade: “Turns out the moderates are vertebrates, after all.”

He’s Not Wrong

What’s Next?

The House is scheduled to reconvene at 11 a.m. ET today. Another speaker vote is the current plan, though that may not happen until after some housekeeping votes. And in truth there’s a decent chance another speaker vote may not happen at all.

Jordan may actually lose more members in today’s expected vote than he did yesterday, according to some reports. Scalise allies seems particularly incensed by how things have gone and by the tactics Jordan has used (though Jordan’s side denies it).

Jordan does stand to gain at least two votes: one pro-Jordan member who was absent yesterday and another member who voted for McCarthy yesterday out of loyalty but has said he will switch to Jordan on subsequent ballots.

It’s not clear what upside there would be for Jordan or the GOP conference to hold another vote in which he is sure to lose – which is one reason why they punted until today for a follow vote. But then again that was also true before yesterday’s vote and Jordan forced it anyway.

Quote Of The Day

The days of just, ‘Oh, this is our person, everybody’s just going to rally’—those days are over.

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), who voted for Jordan 

How Did This Happen?

I’ll say it again: I need someone to explain to me how Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), an OG Tea Party crazy, is now being legit treated as a voice of reason:

Good Read

WaPo: How Hannity, Bannon and others on the right helped fuel GOP speaker chaos


Israel-Gaza Watch

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) hugs US President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport on October 18, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. Biden landed in Israel on October 18, on a solidarity visit following Hamas attacks that have led to major Israeli reprisals. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
  • President Biden landed in Tel Aviv overnight, where he suggested the hospital explosion in Gaza wasn’t the fault of the Israelis: “Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team.”
  • The hospital blast killed 471 people, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, though that number has not been independently confirmed:
  • In reaction to the hospital calamity, Jordan called off the summit meeting scheduled for Wednesday afternoon among Biden, Jordanian King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
  • Street protests continued in Arab countries in the aftermath of the hospital blast.
  • Beyond the public finger-pointing between Israel and the Palestinians, significant skepticism has emerged among experts about circumstances of the hospital blast. I should note that many experts are suggesting that forensics and various intel sources should be able to determine with a reasonable level of certainty the likely cause of the blast. It will just take time to make those determinations.

Curious …

Special Counsel Jack Smith has withdrawn a subpoena for records from the Trump-backed PAC Save America, suggesting Smith is scaling back in some ways his investigation into the fundraising that was done around the Big Lie.

This Is How It’s Done

A great analysis of the hottest summer on record for Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city, from the good folks at Space City Weather.

More than the scorching high temperatures, I remain awed by what has happened to daily low temperatures. Here’s a particularly illuminating stat from their analysis:

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