December 19, 2019 / 1:21 PM / a month ago

Top Trump ally in U.S. House to leave Congress, eyes work with president

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One of U.S. President Donald Trump’s most stalwart allies in the House of Representatives, Republican Mark Meadows, said on Thursday he will not seek re-election next year and could seek a position to work with Trump in some capacity.

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) speaks to reporters inside Statuary Hall prior voting in the U.S. House of Representatives on two articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 18, 2019. REUTERS//Erin Scott

“My time serving Western North Carolina in Congress will come to a close at the end of this term,” Meadows, a founding member of Republican’s conservative House Freedom Caucus, said in a statement.

He did not offer any details about his next steps but said he would continue to fight for the Republican president, who on Thursday was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House.

“My work with President Trump and his administration is only beginning,” Meadows wrote. “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.”

He told Politico, which first reported his departure, that he did not have a specific job lined up yet with Trump and would not say whether he would serve out the remainder of his current term, which ends in January 2021.

“I plan to serve the people of western North Carolina until it’s decided that I can best serve the president and the American people in a different capacity,” he told the news outlet. “While there’s no immediate plans, there’s certainly discussions that have occurred and potentially could occur in the future.”

Meadows, whose home state of North Carolina has seen a political shakeup over redistricting, also told Politico news outlet in an interview that he was not concerned about winning re-election.

The southern U.S. state is among several embroiled in a legal fight over partisan gerrymandering in which district maps are drawn up in order to benefit a particular political party.

The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year blocked cases challenging such efforts in federal courts. However, challenges have continued at the state level, including in North Carolina where courts have struck down Republican-drawn state legislative maps.

Earlier this month, a panel of North Carolina judges backed a new congressional map approved by state lawmakers saying there was not enough time ahead of the November 2020 election to determine whether it was politically gerrymandered or not.

Reporting by Susan Heavey and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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