Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy abruptly announced today that he’s quitting politics at the end of his current term. This comes just days after Republican Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen announced the same. For the past few months, GOP members of the House and Senate have been fleeing like rats off a sinking ship. This is notable in and of itself. What’s even more notable is that a disproportionately large number of Republican committee chairs are announcing their retirement, in almost stunning numbers.
Gowdy is the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Frelinghuysen is the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Senator Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has also announced he’s retiring. These are just a few examples; the list is very long. So why are the Republican committee chairs even more eager to beat a path out the door than the Republicans in Congress in general? It’s not simply because of the impending “Blue Wave” in November. It’s because the committee chairs seem to know something that the rest of Congress doesn’t.
Based on the results of various elections over the past several months, we know that the Democrats are going to outperform in November, and we know that a whole lot of Republicans are going to lose their seats; it’s just a question of how many. But some of these Republicans who are quitting are in very red districts and states. They would have been the favorites to get reelected no matter how unpopular Donald Trump and the GOP are nationally. And while the Republican committee chairs will lose those roles if the Democrats take the majority, those chairs would simply become the ranking members of their committees, leaving them in powerful positions.
So what’s really going on here? Why are the Republican committee chairs beating a path out the door even more furiously than the Republican congressmen at large? In short, committee chairs know more. They’ve been around longer, they’re savvier, they’re more well connected to information in general, and many of them have unique access to classified information in their roles as chairs. They have to know something that we don’t. It has to be something so devastating about the Republican Party that they no longer see a reason to be anywhere near politics by the time reelection comes around. The only scandal that could possibly take down the entire GOP is the Trump-Russia scandal. Read between the lines.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report