October 7, 2023

Candidate withdrawals force Fox News to cancel House speaker forum

Shortly after Fox News revealed plans for a Monday night speaker candidate debate special, three lawmakers seeking to replace Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) backed out of participating in the event.

Following an outcry from their colleagues, the event was canceled, and on Friday afternoon, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Kevin Hern (R-OK) all announced they would not participate, as the New York Post reported.

Fox News' top political reporter Bret Baier was supposed to moderate the event the night before the House Republican Conference was to have its own closed-door conference of speaker hopefuls.

McCarthy's Ousting

After McCarthy was defeated on the House floor this past Tuesday, the chamber stated its plans to begin voting for a new speaker on Wednesday of the following week.

In a post to X (previously Twitter), Hern said that he will "not be participating in the televised debate" while considering a formal entry into the race against Jordan and Scalise.

“We need to make this decision as a conference, not on TV,” he said.

“The Republican conference needs a family discussion.”

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee "believes it is crucial to meet with the GOP conference before" taking part in a public debate, according to a statement released by Jordan's office.

Axios claimed, citing a "source familiar with the matter," that Scalise had also withdrawn from the program, despite having decided to join only after discovering that Jordan and Hern intended to do so.

The Show

This show was originally billed as an "exclusive joint interview" by the network. However, that description has since been removed.

Fox released a teaser that Baier, host of FNC's Special Report every weeknight, will “press the congressmen on who should be the next speaker of the House and discuss the issues facing Congress and the Republican party going forward.”

“Right now, we’ve got a lot to work out that’s very delicate, emotions and otherwise, and this is not going to help our conference work through some very difficult times,” Rep. John Duarte (R-CA) told Axios, adding: “We know it’s a debate, we don’t need to play semantic games.”

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