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Rep. Mark Meadows resigns to become White House chief of staff

Ex-Freedom Caucus chairman was announced as Trump’s pick earlier this month

Rep. Mark Meadows, right, walks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin through the Capitol on Tuesday on their way to meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Rep. Mark Meadows, right, walks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin through the Capitol on Tuesday on their way to meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mark Meadows has officially resigned from Congress, clearing the path to legally become President Donald Trump’s chief of staff.

The North Carolina Republican made the move official with a Monday letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, informing her of his resignation, effective at 5 p.m.

“Serving the people of North Carolina’s eleventh congressional district for these last seven years has been the honor of my life,” Meadows wrote. “I will forever be grateful for the opportunity.”

The House is next scheduled to meet in a pro forma session Tuesday at 3 p.m., when Meadows’ resignation should be announced and the House member count adjusted to reflect the vacancy.

Meadows looked like he was already in the role last week as he made the rounds with top Trump administration officials negotiating a deal with Congress on the coronavirus economic stimulus package, which the president signed into law Friday.

As recently as Sunday, the White House was still referring to Meadows as the “incoming” chief of staff.

“I’m still a member of Congress,” Meadows said March 24 when asked how he was reconciling his lawmaker duties with his future Trump administration role.

But Meadows couldn’t technically be on the White House payroll until he resigned from the House.

Article I, Section 6, of the Constitution specifically bars people holding other civil offices of the United States from serving simultaneously in Congress.

In Meadows’ case, though, there was no apparent technical violation: He has not cast a roll call vote in the House since March 5, the day before Trump announced his intent to make him chief of staff.

“Mick Mulvaney is still the acting chief, officially,” Meadows said March 24.

Mulvaney, who represented South Carolina in the House from 2011 to 2o17 before he was tapped to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, has been announced as the president’s choice to be the special envoy to Northern Ireland.

Meadows, who was first elected to North Carolina’s 11th District in 2012, announced in December that he would not seek another term. The former chairman of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus said he had considered retiring during the 2o16 election cycle and previously suggested that 2o18 could be his last race. 

It will now be up to North Carolina’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, to decide on scheduling a special election to replace Meadows. The seat may remain vacant until November.

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