Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan said former President Donald Trump should not bear the blame for his actions on Jan. 6 or for not being faster to condemn the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

In a phone interview with the Washington Examiner on Thursday, Jordan said the text message he forwarded Mark Meadows featuring an argument that former Vice President Mike Pence could throw out electoral votes was simply an idea he passed on. However, he did not directly specify whether he thought the argument had merit.

“President Trump did nothing wrong,” Jordan said when asked whether Trump should have done anything more to call off rioters who breached the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“People who did something wrong are being held accountable, as they should be,” Jordan continued. “There’s been like 600 prosecutions. But President Trump didn't do anything wrong. In fact, he told people to — as has been said many times, but it's worth repeating — peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. And he didn't do anything wrong.”

Text messages to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, revealed this week by the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, revealed several Trump allies pressed Meadows to have the president forcefully condemn the rioters.


“He’s got to condemn this s*** ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough,” texted Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son. Meadows responded that he agreed.

Later, Trump Jr. texted again: “We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.”

One of the text messages revealed by the committee, described as being from a lawmaker to Meadows, turned out to be from Jordan. California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff read the message: “On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all.”

But Jordan, who multiple sources describe as texting in only quick one- or two-word messages, said the committee misrepresented the message. The text was a legal argument crafted by lawyer Joseph Schmitz and not Jordan, which the committee did not disclose. Jordan said he simply forwarded it to Meadows.

The committee also “altered” the message, Jordan said, by cutting off the full quote with a period and omitted his further argument of legal precedent. The Jan. 6 committee later admitted it had “inadvertently” added a period at the end of the sentence when it cut off the rest of the argument and that it “regrets the error.”

Still, critics say the message shows Jordan is a "traitor to the Constitution" because he forwarded the message, as Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona put it to MSNBC on Wednesday.

Jordan did not directly say whether he agreed or disagreed with the idea that Pence could throw out electoral votes but noted it was not a plan he focused on.

“I just forwarded on,” Jordan said. “I was focused on the argument that states unconstitutionally changed their election law in the run-up to the election. And we know that happened because the Constitution is clear: time, place, and manner of elections is determined by the state legislature — not by state supreme courts, not by secretary of states, not by county clerks.”

Jordan pointed to guidance from Pennsylvania's secretary of state issued in September 2020 that said mail-in ballots could not be discarded over signatures that do not match the one on file, a decision the state Supreme Court upheld and that a federal District Court judge said was “consistent with the Election Code.” He also mentioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that the state could count absentee ballots received after Election Day. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging that decision.

“That's what I was objecting to because when you unconstitutionally change your election law in Pennsylvania, I think that disenfranchises and hurts the vote of the people I represent in the Fourth District of Ohio,” Jordan said. “That was the argument I was focused on. But there was also this argument that if there are unconstitutional law changes, that then the vice president can weigh in on that, as well. And so, I just passed that information on to Mark in that, in that text message I forwarded."


Jordan, initially appointed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to sit on the Jan. 6 select committee but then blocked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a never-before-seen-move, said the committee’s presentation of the forwarded text message and saying it “regrets the error” should be the main takeaway.

“That is government-speak for, ‘We got caught telling a lot. We got caught altering a document.’ So how can you believe anything that comes from this select committee going forward?” Jordan said.