Mark Meadows, a staunch defender and ally of Donald Trump, said Thursday that he is not seeking reelection next year for his House seat and revealed he might leave before his term is up to go work for the president.
‘Obviously, I’ve looked at this as a temporary job,’ the North Carolina congressman told Politico of his seat in the House of Representatives, which he has held since 2013.
The deadline to file in his home state for the 2020 House election is Friday.
‘Probably the hardest thing for me was the timing of this, because the president has accomplished so much. I’m not only an ally, but will continue to be an ally. And we’ve had discussions on how we can work more closely together in the future and I felt like filing and then potentially resigning at some point in the future would not serve my constituents in North Carolina best.,’ Meadows said.
Meadows, a co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said he doesn’t have a specific job lined up with Trump, but indicated that he might seek a position with the president’s reelection campaign or within the administration.
Donald Trump ally Mark Meadows announced Thursday morning that he will not seek reelection for his House seat in 2020
‘For everything there is a season,’ Meadows wrote in a statement the morning after the House voted to approve two articles of impeachment against Trump. ‘After prayerful consideration and discussion with family, today I’m announcing that my time serving Western North Carolina in Congress will come to a close at the end of this term.’
‘This was a decision I struggled with greatly,’ the congressman continued. ‘These last 8 years, I have been so blessed to serve the people of NC-11 and help give a voice to millions of Americans who feel Washington, DC has forgotten them.’
In the Thursday morning statement, Meadows listed accomplishments of the Trump administration, including ‘economic prosperity, unemployment levels I only dreamed of when I took office, tax and regulatory reforms that are putting the American worker first, our Israeli embassy moved to Jerusalem, and trade deals that were once thought impossible.’
‘Through it all, I am so thankful to have been able to serve and give back to the great country I call home,’ the statement read.
Trump’s son-in-law and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner sent a statement to Politico reaffirming that Meadows would play a role in the Trump camp.
‘Congressman Meadows has been a warrior for the president and a champion of his agenda,’ Kushner wrote. ‘We have greatly valued his guidance for the last three years in the administration, and I have no doubt that Mark will play an important role going into 2020.’
Meadows, while a supporter of implementing constitutional term limits, never ran on a term-limit pledge and said his decision not to run isn’t based on any worries that he might not win in the conservative district.
In 2018, he won reelection to his House seat with 59.2 per cent of the vote and most counties in his district went largely for Trump in 2016, except for the county that includes the city of Asheville, which usually runs blue.
‘Every year it’s a decision whether you’re going to run again,’ he told Politico.
When asked if he would serve out the remainder of his term through 2020, Meadows remained on the fence, signalling that if Trump tapped him for a position, he would likely go.
‘At this point, I plan to serve the people of western North Carolina until it’s decided that I can best serve the president and the American people in a different capacity,’ he said. ‘And so while there’s no immediate plans, there’s certainly discussions that have occurred and potentially could occur in the future.’
Meadows had a big impact in the lower chamber of Congress during his tenure in co-founding the House Freedom Caucus in 2015 and in that same year he filed a motion that eventually led to then-House Speaker John Boehner resigning.
Meadows (right) and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan (left) are both staunch Trump allies and supporters in the House, and they are also both among the founding members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Jordan is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which debated the articles of impeachment against Trump last week
Between 2017-2019 – when the House, Senate and White House were all GOP-led – Meadows and fellow Freedom Caucus founder and Trump ally Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio had a lot of power in the House.
‘The hardest decision for me is that when you’re in the fight, you enjoy staying in the fight,’ Meadows told Politico of leaving his post in the contentious and divisive Democrat-controlled House.
‘So this is not me shrinking away from a fight. In fact, it’s just going to be continuing to fight a different capacity, whether that’s officially as part of the Trump team or unofficially in my capacity as a sitting member of Congress,’ he said.
Mick Mulvaney, who served in Congress for South Carolina’s 5th district until 2017, also co-founded the Freedom Caucus.
He went on to join the Trump administration shortly after inauguration and since the start of 2019 has served as the acting White House chief of staff.
Meadows’ announcement that he is retiring from Congress come the morning after the full chamber voted to impeach Trump.
Democrats charge the president abused his power and obstructed Congress in its investigation.
Not one Republican voted to approve impeachment – while some Democrats crossed the line to vote against the articles and Hawaii Representative and 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard voted ‘present.’
Trump touted the Republican win Thursday morning, even though the Democrat-controlled chamber voted to move forward with impeachment, sending it to the Republican-controlled Senate where it will surely die.
‘100% Republican Vote. That’s what people are talking about. The Republicans are united like never before!’ Trump cheered on Twitter.
‘I got Impeached last might without one Republican vote being cast with the Do Nothing Dems on their continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history,’ he continued in the duo of tweets. ‘Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s Senate’s call!’