WASHINGTON — Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, faces an uncertain political future, as GOP lawmakers and aides question whether his high-profile role as a conservative instigator can survive allegations that he didn’t try to stop a team doctor’s alleged sexual misconduct on the Ohio State University wrestling team.
A series of former members of the team, where Jordan was an assistant coach in the 1990s, said last week that he was aware of the improper conduct but didn’t take action. The wrestlers, as well as athletes from other sports, said Dr. Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, conducted unnecessary, full-body physical examinations, inappropriately touched them and regularly watched them shower.
Jordan has said he wasn’t aware of any allegations at the time. “We’re getting all kinds of support. Six coaches and all kinds of wrestlers have said the same thing I have. You know why they said that? Because it’s the truth,” Jordan said Wednesday.
Some House Republicans defended Jordan this week, including Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. Jordan helped found the group of roughly three-dozen of the most conservative House Republicans and he is still considered its master strategist by many lawmakers. But privately, other House Republicans and strategists said Jordan’s career could be in jeopardy. Jordan has said he is considering running to replace departing House Speaker Paul Ryan. But the recent allegations could hinder his ability to act as the public face of the Freedom Caucus in major negotiations and the leadership race, some lawmakers said.
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