The U.S. Capitol. (Jennifer Shutt | States Newsroom)
WASHINGTON — Fox News has scrapped a joint interview from Capitol Hill with candidates for speaker of the U.S. House after the participants dropped out, chief political anchor Bret Baier said Friday afternoon.
The network initially said in a Friday morning press release that the three men participating in the joint interview would be Republican House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio and Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern of Oklahoma.
But early Friday afternoon, Hern said on X, formerly Twitter, “I still haven’t made a decision on my candidacy for speaker, but I know one thing for sure. I will not be participating in the televised debate. We need to make this decision as a conference, not on TV. The Republican conference needs a family discussion.”
Baier said on air that the network had been working on preparations for the interview for the past couple of days and locked in both Jordan and Scalise and “had word” Hern would get in the race. “We were told that he was going to be a declared candidate by the end of business today,” Baier said. “So we planned for all three of them to sit together.”
But, he said, somehow word of the joint interview leaked on Capitol Hill and “the word debate has scared folks over the past couple of days.”
According to Fox News in its earlier press release, which was removed from its website later Friday, Baier would “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.”
After former U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was removed Tuesday — the first time in Congress’ history – it created a vacuum in the chamber, and left many questions on how the House can function without a speaker.
Currently, North Carolina Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry — a McCarthy ally — is in the role of speaker pro tempore until a new speaker is chosen by Republicans.
Following the motion to vacate by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, McCarthy announced he did not have plans to run again for speaker.
Scalise and Jordan announced Wednesday their bids for the speaker’s gavel.
This report has been updated.
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