President Donald Trump has fortified his White House with a new chief of staff, former House Freedom Caucus chairman and retiring Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC).
On Friday night, the president named Meadows his new incoming White House chief of staff, announcing that his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney would become the new special envoy to Northern Ireland.
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….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2020
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2020
Meadows served as the second chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, taking the reins from the group’s founder and his close ally, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). Together, Meadows and Jordan have been a pair of the president’s fiercest defenders in the House, but even before President Trump’s 2016 election, the soft-spoken firebrand conservative from western North Carolina has helped pave the future path of the Republican Party—pulling the GOP away from swamp deals and failed establishment politics towards populist, grassroots conservative policies that are much more popular with the electorate.
Meadows’ success in Congress has won him many friends among top conservatives and even across the aisle, with a huge swath of Trump allies on Friday evening telling Breitbart News that the president could not have made a better choice going into his re-election campaign.
“Congressman Meadows has been one of the most effective advocates for the MAGA movement for years now,” Donald Trump, Jr., President Trump’s eldest son, told Breitbart News. “There are some major battles ahead and I can’t think of anyone more equipped to fight alongside the President for the future of our country.”
“Meadows is cut from the same cloth as the President; he’s a fighter and will do what it takes to win,” Cliff Sims, a former Trump White House official and outside ally of the president, added. “He’s the perfect choice to lead the White House staff through election season. A brilliant choice by President Trump.”
“Mark has great political instincts and, to put it bluntly, is just a total killer,” Andy Surabian, a GOP strategist and also a former White House official, added. “He’s exactly who President Trump needs by his side in an election year.”
“Mark being chief of staff is a massive win for the MAGA movement,” Charlie Kirk, the founder and president of Turning Point USA, told Breitbart News.
“Mark Meadows is the right person at the right time to serve as President Trump’s Chief of Staff,” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told Breitbart News as well. “After enduring Establishment operatives undermining his efforts since his inauguration, the President will now have a fearless warrior on the inside to promote and safeguard his agenda.”
Meadows was a back-bencher second-term congressman when he filed a “motion to vacate the chair” in the summer of 2015, a bold move that would have forced a vote on whether then-Speaker John Boehner would be allowed to remain in his position.
When Meadows did it, most of the Washington establishment wrote him off and considered the effort unserious, but quickly and quietly he—working with his fellow House Freedom Caucus members—amassed the votes necessary by September 2015 to knock out Boehner. When Boehner realized Meadows had succeeded, he resigned before a public spectacle tanked him on the floor of the House in order to avoid embarrassment.
While most of the rest of the media ignored him, Breitbart News traveled to his district that August recess to profile him and provide a detailed report on his then-quixotic effort to change Congress for the better by removing someone who, as Speaker, had pushed a variety of deals with now former President Barack Obama that left the country worse off.
In the interview he gave during that trip to his district in western North Carolina, Meadows explained how so many people come to Washington, DC, and forget why they were elected in the first place—but how he wanted to be different.
“I think everybody starts out doing that, because they’re real sensitive to the fact that they just got into office and say, ‘Golly, I want to be a voice for the people,’” Meadows said when asked if enough members of Congress listen to their constituents.
“The longer they’re there, the less likely you are to listen. For me, I’ve had to redouble my effort and not say, okay, pay attention to what are the priorities in Washington, D.C., but really try to listen to what are the priorities here? There are some of them that have been difficult for me. A prime example is on the Syrian invasion, where really they were bantering back and forth on should we invade Syria or not? I had my own personal view, the fact I believed that ISIS was going to continue to grow and that we had to go in and put an end to it right away, really quickly. I was war weary, but I felt like we needed to do that. My district started calling the office and sending in surveys and other things as well—87 percent of the people that contacted us, or it could have been 82 – 82 or 87 percent of the people said, ‘We don’t want you to do that.’ We’re tired of wars. It shifted where we were to saying, “Just listen, the people back home…” and it wasn’t just Republicans. It was Democrats, independents, everyone. For us, it’s just about trying to have an open ea, then going to Washington, D.C., and voting the way the people here want you to vote. When you do that, it sometimes puts you at odds with what is deemed pragmatic in Washington, D.C., or ‘the practical thing to do,’ but I try to conduct at least a couple days of really listening every time I come back – especially if it’s for a week or longer where I’m just listening to people. Both the good and the bad. We’re going to continue to try to get better,” Meadows said.
Listen to his constituents he certainly did. After he toppled Boehner—a remarkable achievement for a then-second-term congressman—Meadows soon after became the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, replacing its first chairman and founder Jim Jordan. Meadows weaponized the Freedom Caucus, leveraging the group’s approximately 40 members in the GOP majority for the last year plus of Obama’s administration and for the first two years of Trump’s first term to steer the party away from now former Speaker Paul Ryan’s failed visions for Republicans and to guide the party toward successes on major issues ranging from taxes to healthcare to immigration.
Supporters of Meadows say that they should expect Trump’s new chief of staff to continue to listen to the constituents who put both of them in office—rather than special interests or lobbyists.
“Finally, a chief of staff that respects the Trump supporters who put him in the White House,” J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, told Breitbart News.
Many members of Meadows’ Freedom Caucus unit have gone on to much bigger and better things. Of course, Mulvaney is the outgoing acting White House chief of staff, a position he took after previously serving as director of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under Trump. But he was one of Meadows’s allies and fellow Freedom Caucus fighters back in the early days for both of them. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who’s currently America’s most popular governor, was a Freedom Caucus member when he served in the House. Former Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), now the frontrunner for U.S. Senate in Wyoming, was a Freedom Caucus member too.
Another former Freedom Caucus member, former Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), now works at Liberty University leading efforts to expose Chinese communists. He told Breitbart News on Friday night that Meadows is an excellent choice for Trump to lead the White House staff.
“I think Meadows loves the American people as President Trump does and that he is highly ethical and he knows who the bad apples are, and he will help to execute President Trump’s agenda and make America great again,” Brat said.
When Ryan was pushing President Trump to support an unpopular and unsuccessful healthcare plan at the beginning of his first term—an Obamacare replacement that critics derisively called “RyanCare”—the deal fell apart, a Ryan failure that hurt Trump in his first few months as president. Meadows, working with Republican members like now former Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), revived, reformed, strengthened, and secured House passage of the GOP healthcare plan.
It was later doomed in the Senate by the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who infamously gave it a thumbs-down on the floor of the Senate as he voted against it. But it would have stopped in the House after Ryan’s failure had it not been for Meadows’ work to save the president’s push for a better healthcare vision for the country than Obamacare.
Healthcare was not the only major policy fight in which Meadows helped President Trump against leftist Democrats and establishment Republicans. On everything from ending endless wars to fighting against open borders amnesty pushes to battling for the Trump tax cuts and more, Meadows has been one of Trump’s go-to allies in the House since the president took office—and the two speak on the regular.
Meadows was also critical in helping Trump fight back one of the most vicious and unhinged conspiracies against a sitting president in history, which ultimately ended in the president’s acquittal by the U.S. Senate after the Democrat-led House impeached him. A member of the president’s team of House members fighting back against the coup attempt by the deep state, Meadows was critical in securing the president’s position and holding back the plotters. The coup attempt started out with various leftist and media attacks claiming Russian “collusion” with Trump’s 2016 campaign that eventually led to the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that cleared Trump in the en, which then led to the renewed attacks on the Ukraine front.
The Ukiraine accusations led to the House impeachment effort and, finally, the president’s acquittal. Every step of the way, Meadows was at Trump’s side, fighting back against the leftists and fake news attacks that ended up failing to take Trump down.
For all of these reasons and more, Meadows has lots of allies in the conservative movemen. FreedomWorks Vice President Noah Wall told Breitbart News that his group could not be happier with the choice Trump made here.
“FreedomWorks could not be more proud that the former House Freedom Caucus chair and strong constitutional conservative will help support President Trump through this critical election year,” Wall said.
Rick Manning, the president of Americans for Limited Government, added that “Mick Mulvaney did a great job of leading the White House through impeachment and has proven to be an extraordinary utility man for the President as OMB Director and the head of the CFPB.”
“He will be a trusted problem solver who is able to help Northern Ireland transition through the difficulties of Brexit,” Manning said.
But Meadows, Manning added, is “a fighter who has the President’s trust.”