CNN’s Dana Bash reacted with consternation after Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) joked about the rationale behind his House speaker vote.
Buck voted for Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) on Tuesday during Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-Ohio) failed attempt to secure the gavel.
“Well, I guess my first question is, do you really want Emmer to be speaker?” Bash asked the congressman on Tuesday.
“No, I don’t,” Buck replied. “I don’t like Tom Emmer. I figured this would be the worst job in America.”
Bash followed up: “So just to underscore that — you voted for somebody because you don’t like them? It’s not because you want him to be speaker.”
“That says a lot about where we are right now,” she added.
Afterwards, Buck tweeted a clip of the exchange to clarify that “this was a joke.”
“The office of Speaker is the hardest job in Washington,” he wrote, adding that he wouldn’t wish that on his “good friend” Emmer, who is the House majority whip.
It’s not clear if Bash got the joke at the time. She later retweeted his post on X (formerly Twitter).
Buck was among the eight Republicans who voted to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the speakership earlier this month, bringing Congress to a standstill as the deeply divided GOP conference struggles to decide on a new leader.
Buck was the only Republican in that bloc who did not vote for Jordan.
Asked by Bash if there’s anything the speaker-designate could do to change his mind, Buck said: “I will not vote for Jim Jordan.”
Jordan, a staunch Donald Trump ally and election denier who supported the former president’s push to overturn the 2020 results, fell 20 votes short of landing the speakership on Tuesday.
Buck has been clear that President Joe Biden won the election. He said last week he would not support a speaker candidate who could not do the same.
A second House floor vote is expected on Wednesday morning.