As allegations against Jim Jordan pile up, how long will Trump stick by his side?
Top Trump attack dog Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is sinking under the weight of a sexual abuse scandal that just keeps getting worse — and now, a seventh witness has come forward to allege that Jordan knew about rampant sexual abuse at Ohio State University but did nothing about it.
Jordan, co-founder of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, was first called out last week by former Ohio State wrestlers who say that when Jordan was a wrestling coach at the university, he turned a blind eye to widespread sexual abuse of student athletes by team doctor Richard Strauss.
At first, three former wrestlers were willing to go on the record to accuse Jordan of enabling abuse. One said he had spoken to Jordan directly about the abuse at the time. Another even said that Jordan personally witnessed the team doctor and other faculty members behaving inappropriately in the team showers.
Later in the week, a fourth wrestler spoke out — and yet Trump still jumped to Jordan's defense.
"I don’t believe them at all," Trump said of the four allegations during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One Thursday. "I believe him. Jim Jordan is one of the most outstanding people I’ve met since I’ve been in Washington. I believe him 100 percent. No question in my mind. I believe Jim Jordan 100 percent. He’s an outstanding man."
Now, a total of seven witnesses have come forward to implicate Jordan. And Trump shows no signs yet of changing his tune on Jordan.
Most recently, former Ohio State wrestler David Range told The Washington Post that Jordan "definitely knew" about the abuse that was going on.
"We talked about it all the time in the locker room,” Range told the paper. "Everybody joked about it and talked about it all the time."
But perhaps most damning, Jordan himself appeared to corroborate what these witnesses have been saying.
The day after Trump defended him, Jordan appeared on Fox News to defend himself, and repeatedly told Bret Baier that "conversations in a locker room are a lot different than allegations of abuse."
Three times during the interview, Jordan tried to make a distinction between "conversations in a locker room" and a formal report of abuse.
He even suggested that the wrestlers were lying about being abused, and that their accusations against him were politically motivated.
And even seven witnesses probably doesn't faze Trump — after all, Trump claims that all 19 women accusing him of sexual assault and harassment are liars.
For Trump, Jordan's culpability in sexual abuse may be more of a feature than a bug.
But as disgraced Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt demonstrates, there is a limit to Trump's loyalty. After months of scandal, Pruitt was finally forced to resign this week.
Trump is sticking by his loyal attack dog for now — but that could easily change as soon as Trump feels it is no longer politically advantageous to defend Jordan.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.