Republican House speaker candidates back out of Fox News debate

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Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) speaks at a press conference as Rep. Steve Scalise looks on following a Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol.

Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images

The top Republicans vying to replace Rep. Kevin McCarthy as the next speaker of the House of Representatives have backed out of a televised debate that was scheduled to air Monday on Fox News.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan both agreed that the debate on the conservative news network would not be a good idea, two sources told NBC News on Friday.

Rep. Kevin Hern, chair of the Republican Study Committee, said in a social media post on X — formerly known as Twitter — that he would not participate in the debate, which was set to take place six days after McCarthy was removed as speaker.

“We need to make this decision as a conference, not on TV,” Hern wrote. “The Republican conference needs a family discussion.”

Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment by CNBC.

Many Republican caucus members were angry that the party’s differences would be publicly aired on national television in a debate for would-be speakers, a third source told NBC.

“They want to solve this behind closed doors,” the source said.

The GOP caucus is scheduled to hold a conference meeting at 6 p.m. Monday to discuss choosing a speaker.

Former President Donald Trump on Friday endorsed Jordan for the role.

McCarthy was the first House speaker in U.S. history to be ousted in a no-confidence vote.

Seven other Republicans joined Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida in voting to dethrone McCarthy.

All Democrats in attendance voted against retaining the California lawmaker.