Representative Mark Meadows plays an important role in the House of Representatives. His is the voice often sought when matters of legislation are in play. He is a strong Republican leader who helps to counter the Democratic majority’s narrative, offering witty quips and the occasional sharp rebuke when Democrats get out of line.
His time in the House ends in January. He is not running for reelection. This news instantly sparked rumors that he would soon replace Mick Mulvaney as Chief of Staff, a role Meadows previously coveted when John Kelly resigned from the post. Many thought Mulvaney would fall back to his role as OMB Chair, a position he holds simultaneously with his role as acting Chief of Staff, as soon as the impeachment saga ended. Mulvaney was considered a major player in the impeachment debacle as Democrats in both chambers sought to question him on the record.
Both the President and the White House reiterated today that Mulvaney wasn’t going anywhere. Some in mainstream media are questioning this, claiming that Mulvaney was definitely on the outs and it was a matter of when, not if. That may be true, but there are three important reasons why it won’t happen until after the election.
Meadows is too valuable on horseback
The difference between a Chief of Staff and a Congressman are night and day when it comes to presidential campaigns. Chiefs of Staff are encumbered by the day-to-day activities of the White House and are among the least likely to make appearances at campaign events. Congressmen, especially those who are not running for reelection like Meadows, are free to roam about the country during campaign season. The requirements to be on Capitol Hill are minimal, which is why so many Senators and Representatives can run for president.
President Trump needs Meadows out there “on horseback,” so to speak. He is one of the best surrogates for the President with regular appearances on news channels to give him name recognition. Moreover, his impeccable reputation is invaluable to lending the campaign any credibility support it might need during times of scandal. We know the Democrats and mainstream media will manufacture as many scandals as possible until November 3.
Lynda Bennett is his chosen successor
Just before announcing his retirement, the groundwork for Lynda Bennett was put into place for her to run for his seat. She is friends with Meadow’s wife, Debbie, and has been endorsed by both Meadows and his fellow conservative Congressman Jim Jordan from Ohio.
If he resigns before the election, Governor Roy Cooper gets to pick his replacement. North Carolina law establishes that Cooper, a Democrat, can only choose from names submitted by the state GOP since it’s a Republican who would be replaced, but chances are slim that Cooper would select a conservative like Bennett. This would give another Republican the edge in the election. While it’s possible Meadows could step down after the primary, the presidential campaign makes that possibility less likely.
Mulvaney is harmless where he is
Mulvaney is a strong manager. The President hasn’t taken his counsel very often lately, but he needs someone to manage the White House and Mulvaney is great at that aspect of his job. Replacing him in the middle of an election would cause undo shifting at a time when the President must stay focused.
Many conservatives are very hopeful to see Mark Meadows as Chief of Staff soon, but it’s better for him to wait until after the election for multiple reasons. In the meantime, Mick Mulvaney is doing a fine job and will remain at his post until next year.