Republican Rep. Jim Jordan on Sunday furthered what may be a new GOP strategy: questioning President Donald Trump’s seriousness in asking China to investigate the Biden family.
In an animated exchange on ABC with host George Stephanopoulos, Jordan — one of the president’s most vocal supporters — evaded answering “yes” or “no” to the question of whether Trump’s request for foreign powers to investigate a political rival was appropriate.
“You really think he was serious about thinking that China’s going to investigate the Biden family?” the Ohio Republican said. “I think he’s getting the press all spun up about this. Remember, this is the president who’s been tougher on China than any other president.”
Stephanopoulos later asked, “We’re not supposed to take the president at his word?”
Jordan’s response: Trump was just being Trump. His request to China was to make a statement and say “what’s on the minds of so many Americans.”
“You would think after … a few years of following this president, you would understand sort of how this guy communicates. I think that is what he’s doing,” Jordan said.
Trump on Thursday pulled China into the midst of rising furor over the president’s request for help from Ukraine in investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. During a press gaggle on Thursday, Trump said China should “start an investigation” into Biden because “what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”
On Friday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told reporters in Florida that it wasn’t “a real request” and Trump was “just needling the press.” Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) followed suit on Sunday, saying on CBS, “I doubt the China comment was serious.”
Still, some Republicans have split from that line of defense, the most recent being Maine Sen. Susan Collins who on Saturday said Trump made a “big mistake by asking China to get involved.” She is the third Republican senator to publicly criticize the president on this matter, joining Utah’s Mitt Romney and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse.