Amid mounting allegations that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) ignored widespread allegations of sexual abuse at Ohio State, Jordan took to Fox News on Friday evening to defend himself — and to attack the former wrestlers who allege he turned a blind eye to the abuse they suffered.
At least six former Ohio State wrestlers say Jordan knew about ongoing abuse at the hands of team doctor Dr. Richard Strauss, who has been accused of molesting hundreds of student-athletes over two decades. Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach at the university in the 1990s. Strauss committed suicide in 2005.
“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,” one of the accusers, former UFC world champion Mark Coleman, told media outlets this week. A former wrestling coach who once worked with Jordan described the toxic environment for Ohio State wrestlers as a “cesspool of deviancy.”
Over the past week, Jordan has insisted he knew nothing about Strauss’ alleged sexual abuse. During Friday’s interview with Bret Baier, Jordan admitted he had heard some things among the team — but repeatedly downplayed these conversations as “locker room talk.”
“Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than people coming up and talking about abuse. No one ever reported any abuse to me,” he insisted.
When Baier pressed Jordan about why multiple former wrestlers are all saying the same thing — that Jordan knew about the abuse yet took no action — Jordan lashed out at the men, calling them liars and opportunists.
“I know they know what they’re saying is not accurate,” Jordan said.
Jordan specifically singled out Mike DiSabato, a former wrestler who has given several media interviews about the alleged sexual predation at Ohio State. Jordan has previously claimed he’s being “bullied” by DiSabato.
“Mike DiSabato has a vendetta against Ohio State. He lost a licensing agreement with Ohio State. He is out to get Ohio State. He has a vendetta against our family,” Jordan told Baier.
Later in the interview, he added, “Mike DiSabato, his whole pattern is to latch on to high profile people for personal gain.”
Jordan stopped short of claiming the alleged victims are orchestrating a conspiracy against him — but he did insinuate the controversy is designed to bring him down while he’s making national headlines. “I think the timing is suspect,” he said.
Jordan has recently been in the news for pressing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about the ongoing special counsel investigation into potential Trump campaign collusion with Russia. His name has also been floated as a possible contender to succeed Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as Speaker of the House.
The Ohio congressman is now facing calls to resign.