Rep. Jim Jordan speaks outside the Capitol. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

More than 40 prominent figures in the conservative movement plan to send an open letter to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), urging the Freedom Caucus member to declare himself a candidate for Speaker “at once” to replace Paul Ryan.

Axios has obtained a letter — circulated by Ginni Thomas, longtime leader in the conservative movement and spouse of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas — stating that current House Republican leadership "has utterly failed" and "proven that it’s part of the Swamp," and that Jordan is the solution. Richard Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, and Jenny Beth Martin, Chairman of the Tea Party Patriots, are among the more th 40 people who have also signed on.

Why it matters: Ryan has chosen to remain Speaker through the midterm elections despite announcing his retirement. But behind the scenes, the Republican conference has been restive and many members privately question whether it’s tenable for him to last out the year as a lame duck Speaker.

  • Now, conservative leaders who have long loathed Republican leadership are seizing this opportunity to promote Jordan. Along with his Freedom Caucus colleague Mark Meadows, Jordan has been a bane of leadership’s existence during his time in Congress.

What they're saying: "Our supporters want to see Jim Jordan be the Speaker, and they’ve wanted that for several years," Jenny Beth Martin told Axios. "We’ve also called for Paul Ryan to step down as Speaker prior to him announcing he would not run for reelection."

  • Asked about the letter, Jordan told Axios: "The American people want results, and I’m committed to bringing that change. It’s as simple as this — doing what we told the voters we would do.”

The backdrop: Ryan has already endorsed Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to succeed him, but McCarthy allies have told Axios they worry he won’t do well in a protracted period of uncertainty, which would allow his opponents plenty of time to criticize him.

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Hiroshima's Mayor Kazumi Matsui on Thursday urged the international community to work together to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and warned against an increase in "self-centered nationalism," per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: He said at a remembrance service on the atomic bombing of the Japanese city that the 1918 flu pandemic killed millions as countries fighting in World War I were unable to overcome the threat together, per DPR. "A subsequent upsurge in nationalism led to World War II," he added. The U.S. bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 and Nagasaki three days later contributed to the end of World War II, but tens of thousands of people died. At the service, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lamented nuclear weapons' "inhumanity," but he didn't mention Japan's wartime past, WashPost noted.

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LeBron James responded on Wednesday night to President Trump's comments calling NBA players "disgraceful" for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and that he won't watch games because of the action.

The big picture: Trump has repeatedly criticized sports players for taking the knee since 2016. But James said during a news conference, "I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game." November's elections marked "a big moment for us as Americans," he said. "If we continue to talk about, 'We want better, we want change,' we have an opportunity to do that," he added. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said the league will "respect peaceful protest."

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