Just minutes ago South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, announced that he is retiring from Congress at the completion of this term.
He announced his retirement with this statement:
“Words cannot adequately express my gratitude to the people of South Carolina for the privilege of representing them in the House of Representatives. The Upstate of South Carolina has an incredible depth and breadth of assets including numerous women and men capable of representing us. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to serve in the People’s House and—prior to Congress—to advocate on behalf of justice in our court systems.
“I will not be filing for re-election to Congress nor seeking any other political or elected office; instead I will be returning to the justice system. Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system. As I look back on my career, it is the jobs that both seek and reward fairness that are most rewarding.
“There is no perfect time to make this announcement, but with filing opening in six weeks, it is important to give the women and men in South Carolina who might be interested in serving ample time to reflect on the decision.
“To my wife, Terri, and our two children, Watson and Abigail: thank you for all you sacrificed, missed, or did alone so I could serve as both a prosecutor and a member of the House.
“To my parents and my three sisters: thank you for having confidence in me and high expectations for me, even when I did not.
“To the women and men I worked with at the South Carolina Court of Appeals, the United States District Court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the 7th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, and in Congress: thank you for the texture, depth and joy you added to life.
“To the law enforcement officers and victims of crime: thank you for personifying courage.
“To those across South Carolina and our country who, over the past 7 years, have expressed words of encouragement, accountability and even criticism: thank you. All are needed for those in public service.
“The book of Ecclesiastes teaches us there is a time and a season for all things. There is a time to start and a time to end. There is a time to come and a time to go. This is the right time, for me, to leave politics and return to the justice system.”
Gowdy’s announcement brings to 30 the number of House Republicans choosing retirement rather than to keep up the fight that they are finally winning under their new general, President Trump.
This has rank and file Republicans concerned because the last time we saw an exodus like this from Congress was in 1994 when a large number of Democrats retired and control of the House transferred to the Republicans.
It would appear that Republicans are in a much stronger position today than the Democrats were back then. As the Daily Kos recounts:
“In short, the House was a sewer of corruption, Democratic corruption. That’s what happens when you’re in control of an institution for generations.”
The Dems had controlled the House for 40 years prior to then.
The House is again awash in corruption that, to date has been laid at the feet of Democrats. Regardless, the brush of corruption paints with broad strokes and there is a possibility that Republicans fearing that they’ll get caught up – rightly or wrongly – as evidence of the scandals becomes more widely known are running for the exits.
Why else would so many of them be choosing early retirement? With the wind in their sails, thanks to a booming economy, and much work left to be done on immigration and national security it seems odd that they are choosing to abandon the fight they originally signed up for.
Gowdy’s announcement follows a growing list of Republican committee chairmen who will be stepping down:
They include: Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith of Texas; Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce of California; Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia; Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania; Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas; House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper of Mississippi; House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black of Tennessee and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen.
However, Gowdy’s star was clearly the brightest making his decision, both curious on it’s own, and troubling for the possibility that something worse might underscore this rash of retirements.
The bet here is that Gowdy has had enough of politics. His steady demeanor, dogged investigative instincts, and his desire to uncover the truth has been key to exposing widespread Obama administration corruption and the wrongdoing committed by Hillary Clinton.
Perhaps he feels that with the release of the memo, as well as the underlying supporting documents, his work is done.
He has done his job well. Now he gets to ride off into the sunset a hero. Hopefully, there’s nothing more behind Gowdy’s decision.