Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on Wednesday that she will not vote for Speaker designee Steve Scalise on the floor and would instead back Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.
She later pledged in a separate interview with CNN to vote for Jordan “for several rounds” on the floor should Scalise lack the votes to secure the speaker’s gavel.
“I will not move from that position, at least initially,” Mace said.
“I’m talking to different people in different camps and, you know, figuring out where they are. And that would be conservatives, that would be moderates, that would be Democrats, and figuring out what the next steps might be,” she told CNN.
Pressed if she could potentially vote for Scalise down the line, Mace said “not at this time.”
“Given the district that I represent, I can’t get behind somebody that attended a White supremacist conference and compared himself to David Duke,” she said, adding that she just learned about his comments last night. “I’m trying to reconcile it, and right now I can’t.”
Mace’s comments are a reference Scalise facing intense blowback in 2014 for having given a speech in 2002 — before he entered Congress — to a White supremacist group founded by former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke. Scalise apologized and said in a statement that speaking to the group “was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold.”
Mace said she let Scalise know of her opposition Wednesday afternoon but had not yet heard back from him.
Earlier Wednesday, House Republicans voted 113-99 behind closed doors to select Scalise over Jordan as their speaker nominee.
If all current members are present and voting on the floor, Scalise can only stand to lose four Republican votes to gather the 217 needed to win the speaker’s gavel.