Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), co-founder of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and one of President Trump's most stalwart defenders and congressional advisers, announced early Thursday that he isn't seeking re-election in 2020 and may not finish out his term. Meadows told Politico he is in talks for an unspecified job with Trump, possibly on his re-election campaign. Trump has also suggested he might hire Meadows as White House chief of staff, Axios reports, and his name has come up again recently as Trump butted heads with acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
Jared Kushner, Trump adviser and son-in-law, told Politico that "Meadows has been a warrior for the president and a champion of his agenda" and he had "no doubt that Mark will play an important role going into 2020."
The filing deadline in North Carolina is Friday, and a source close to Meadows told Axios that Friday's deadline and Wednesday's impeachment vote determined the timing of his announcement. "He wanted to announce it post-impeachment to minimize any appearance of it having to do with the vote," the source said. Meadows told Politico he plans to stay in Congress "until it's decided that I can best serve the president and the American people in a different capacity. And so while there's no immediate plans, there's certainly discussions that have occurred and potentially could occur in the future."
Meadows, first elected in 2012, was one of the most powerful members of Congress when Republicans were in the majority. He and Freedom Caucus wingman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) "essentially had veto power over anything that came to the House floor," Politico reports. He is currently the top Republican on the House Oversight and Transportation committees. Meadows is the 24th House Republican to announce his retirement, further complicating the GOP's hopes of retaking control of the House.