With Mick Mulvaney gone, Donald Trump has picked a replacement for his chief of staff: congressional ally Mark Meadows. Learn more about the NC Rep. before he joins the White House.
After a little over one year on the job, President Donald Trump ousted acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney from the White House, making way for his new choice: Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). Meadows, 60, is one of Trump’s loudest cheerleaders in Congress, and will be his fourth chief of staff in three years. “I am pleased to announce that Congressman Mark Meadows will become White House Chief of Staff. I have long known and worked with Mark, and the relationship is a very good one,” the president tweeted on March 6. “I want to thank Acting Chief Mick Mulvaney for having served the Administration so well. He will become the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. Thank you!” Here’s what you should know about Meadows:
1. He’s North Carolina’s Republican congressman. Meadows was elected to Congress in 2013, representing North Carolina’s 11th congressional district. The Tea Party-backed politician was thought to be instrumental in the 2013 government shutdown after writing a letter, signed by 79 reps, to then-House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor asking them to “affirmatively de-fund the implementation and enforcement of Obamacare.” He denied this influence, saying “I’m one of 435 members and a very small part of this.”
Meadows voted against disaster relief spending for Hurricane Sandy in 2012, voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, and called the legalization of same-sex marriage a “constitutional crisis.” He’s staunchly pro-life, calling abortion a “tragedy,” and opposing federal funding for the medical procedure.
2. He’s one of Trump’s most loyal allies in Congress. Trump and Meadows didn’t know each other before he became president, but the congressman quickly became one of his biggest supporters in the government. The head of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on government operations, Meadows became friends with the president and often rides with him on Air Force One. “It’s an honor to be selected by President Trump to serve alongside him and his team,” Meadows said in a statement. “This president and his administration have a long list of incredible victories they’ve delivered to the country during this first term, with the best yet to come.”
3. He chaired the House Freedom Caucus from 2017 to 2019. The Freedom Caucus is made up of conservative and Republican members of the House of Representatives, founded by Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Jim Jordan (R-OH), John Fleming (R-LA), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Justin Amash (R-MI), Raúl Labrador (R-ID), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Meadows… and Mulvaney. After Trump’s election in 2016, Mulvaney said, “Trump wants to turn Washington upside down — that was his first message and his winning message. We want the exact same thing. To the extent that he’s got to convince Republicans to change Washington, we’re there to help him… and I think that makes us Donald Trump’s best allies in the House.”
4. He came under fire for controversial remarks about former President Barack Obama. Like Trump, Meadows is a birther, who questioned whether or not Obama was truly an American citizen. While campaigning in 2012, Meadows was asked if he would investigate Obama’s citizenship. “Yes. If we do our job from a grassroots standpoint, we won’t have to worry about it,” he said. “We’ll send him back home to Kenya or wherever it is.” Three years later, he distanced himself from the statement: “I don’t even remember that quote.”
5. He clashed with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Meadows and the Democratic congresswoman from New York sparred at her very first House Oversight and Reform Committee meeting in January 2019. Meadows and Republicans were asking if representatives could be given five days, rather than three, to get back to DC to attend a hearing. AOC said that she didn’t believe five days was necessary, adding that lawmakers should already be in DC doing their jobs. Ocasio-Cortez shot back: “I don’t believe we need five days,” she said, adding that lawmakers should already be in D.C. doing their jobs.
Meadows responded by addressing committee chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD): “Mr. Chairman, I can tell you on all of this at this particular point, we’re all wanting to cooperate. Sometimes our schedules, you know, we’re not just sitting around eating bonbons, waiting for the call of anybody.”