It wasn’t exactly widely known, but South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy has been eyeing an exit from Congress for a while. Why he chose now to do is unclear, but choose he did. In a bombshell announcement the day after President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Speech, the former prosecutor told the world he was done as an elected official.
In a statement, Gowdy said he plans to leave politics altogether to return to working in 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,” said Gowdy, a former assistant U.S. attorney.
“There is no perfect time to make this announcement,” he continued. “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.”
Trey Gowdy made a name for himself with the American people as a tough questioner in open Congressional hearings. The problem with those hearings, of course, is that all Congress can do is investigate. There is no prosecution from the Legislative Branch. With Attorney General Jeff Sessions going after human trafficking rings, and international gangs operating on US soil, there will be ample opportunity for Gowdy to use his skills to help the American people in that arena.
Gowdy becomes the ninth Republican to step down as chair of a congressional committee. Most recently, New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, announced he will retire from Congress.
With all luck, this seat will remain in Republican hands. However, Gowdy deserves his chance to serve where his skills are most needed.