RALEIGH, N.C. - Republican congressman Mark Meadows, a top ally to President Donald Trump, said Thursday that he won't seek reelection.
His announcement comes just a day after the U.S. House voted to impeach Trump on charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress. In a statement, the North Carolina congressman said he struggled with the decision and came to it after discussion with his family.
“My work with President Trump and his administration is only beginning. This President has accomplished incredible results for the country in just three years, and I’m fully committed to staying in the fight with him and his team to build on those successes and deliver on his promises for the years to come," Meadows said in the statement. “I’ve always said Congress is a temporary job, but the fight to return Washington, DC to its rightful owner, We The People, has only just begun."
Meadows is a longtime leader of the House Freedom Caucus, which pushed hard-line conservative policies, often rebelling against House Republican leaders. Meadows is a staunch Trump loyalist, and talks with him often.
Throughout Trump's presidency — and especially during the impeachment proceedings — Meadows has been a defender of Trump, along with another Freedom Caucus leader, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. Meadows' name has been floated inside the White House as a possible replacement for Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
In 2015, Meadows stunned his Republican colleagues by filing a motion to oust the powerful GOP House Speaker John Boehner, which eventually led to Boehner's resignation. At the time, the Freedom Caucus was a solid bloc of conservative lawmakers that wielded considerable clout in the House, often thwarting the GOP leadership.
But Meadows also drew attention for his friendship with progressive Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died earlier this year.
"There was no stronger advocate and no better friend than Elijah Cummings," Meadows tweeted after his death.
Associated Press writer Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.