GOP congressman hires crisis PR firm to handle sexual assault scandal
Rep. Jim Jordan’s troubles aren’t going away.
Republican hothead and fierce Trump defender Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio has officially shifted into crisis mode.
Jordan has been accused by seven former wrestlers at Ohio State University of turning a blind eye to widespread sexual abuse of student athletes by team doctor, Richard Strauss, when he was a wrestling coach at the school.
On Monday, the conservative crisis management firm Shirley & Banister Public Affairs released a statement on Jordan’s behalf, in an effort to thwart the mounting scandal headlines.
The statement touted the claims of six former OSU coaches who insist they, along with Jordan, never heard about allegations regarding Strauss, and therefore never ignored troubling claims.
But at least one of the former coaches, Russ Hellickson, has previously gone on the record indicating he had deep concerns about Strauss’ behavior and that he had warned the doctor about being “too hands on” with the students and that he made them uncomfortable by regularly showering with them.
Jordan insists he knew of no abuse, nor did he hear about any complaints, despite the more than half dozen wrestlers who have claimed he must have known about Strauss’ alleged groping and inappropriate behavior.
“I considered Jim Jordan a friend,” said Mike DiSabato, a former wrestler who says he was abused. “But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”
One wrestler, Shawn Dailey, told NBC News that he was groped “half a dozen times” by the team doctor during the time when Jordan was the assistant wrestling coach.
Added UFC wrestling champion Mark Coleman, “There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State.”
Ohio State is currently investigating Strauss’ time at the school, and the allegations of abuse that surround it. He died in 2005.
On Monday, two ethics groups requested a government investigation into Jordan’s handling of the controversy.
After the shocking story broke last week, Jordan tried to derail the narrative by going on Fox News, hoping that airing his story to a friendly audience would help slow the scandal down.
Additionally, Trump messaged his 50-plus million Twitter followers with blind support for Jordan (“No question in my mind. I believe Jim Jordan 100%”), despite the fact Trump can’t possibly know what really took place inside the OSU locker rooms during the 1980s and 1990s when Jordan coached there.
Perhaps sensing that neither of those stunts have been effective, now Jordan — a co-founder of the far-right House Freedom Caucus who hopes to replace Paul Ryan as House speaker — has embraced a crisis management firm.
Since 2017, Jordan has played a central role in the effort by House Republicans to destroy in the credibility of the FBI and the Department of Justice in a heavy-handed effort to save Trump from wide-ranging investigations.
In fact, while appearing on Fox News, Jordan floated the wild conspiracy that the former Ohio State wrestlers coming forward with allegations against him are somehow connected to the fact that Jordan recently sparred with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein during a House hearing over special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
No wonder Jordan needs crisis management guidance.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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