House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) is building his national profile inside the Republican Party as a mover and shaker as the midterm elections loom, and 2020 looms larger.
Meadows is giving a keynote address to a key dinner of South Carolina Republicans in Columbia on Friday evening and has an upcoming trip planned to campaign with Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA)–a Freedom Caucus member and strong conservative–in Iowa soon.
Per a source familiar with Meadows’ operation, his vision goes beyond just holding the House GOP majority. Yes, he is fighting hard for the GOP in the midterms. But he is also becoming a major player inside the Republican Party for battles ahead, including in 2020 when President Donald Trump–of whom Meadows is a strong supporter–faces re-election.
“South Carolina Republicans understand that former President Ronald Reagan had it right when he said that ‘Government is not the solution to our problems, government IS the problem,'” South Carolina GOP chairman Drew McKissick, who is hosting Friday evening’s dinner that Meadows is keynoting, told Breitbart News. “Congressman Mark Meadows has taken a stand every day for our conservative principles of limited government, lower taxes, and traditional values, and our folks are excited to hear from him and welcome him to the Palmetto State.”
Meadows is expected to address more than a thousand gathered Republicans at Friday evening’s dinner. According to the Post and Courier, this is the South Carolina GOP’s major annual fundraising dinner–the Silver Elephant dinner.
Meadows’ sidekick in Congress, House Freedom Caucus founding chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)–who handed the job to Meadows at the beginning of this Congress afte, in the last Congress, it was Meadows who led the effort to oust now former Speaker John Boehner–announced on Thursday he intends to seek the Speakership of the House should Republicans retain the majority in November. Jordan is expected to face off against current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan’s support, in his bid for the job.
Meadows and Jordan led a resolution this week–rebuffed by Ryan–to force the impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The measure would impeach Rosenstein over his refusal to cooperate with a congressional subpoena and document requests compelling the production of information relating to the creation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into President Trump and Russia.
This coming Saturday is the third anniversary of Meadows’ historic introduction of what’s called a “motion to vacate the chair,” a move that he and other conservatives used to oust John Boehner from the Speakership. After Meadows introduced the resolution, which if voted upon and passed would have forced Boehner from the Speakership unwillingly, the establishment and media mocked Meadows. But the erstwhile Congressman carried on, gathered public support, and continued gaining backing from his colleagues over the course of the August recess into September 2015. At the same time, Donald Trump was rising in the polls and became the frontrunner who never looked back.
In mid-September 2015, Meadows gained enough support to approach Boehner and tell him he would force a vote on the motion to vacate–removing Boehner from the Speakership by force–if Boehner did not step aside willingly. Boehner, understanding he had been beat, agreed the next morning to resign after Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. Capitol, and a successor was chosen.
Originally, McCarthy–then as now the Majority Leader because former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary to now Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) the year before–was viewed as the frontrunner for the job. Other declared candidates included then Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), now a former Congressman who serves as a Fox News Contributor, and Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL)–an outsider and reformer with a surprisingly high level of support.
McCarthy’s candidacy went down, as did those of Chaffetz and Webster, clearing the way for Ryan, who rose with the strong backing of the GOP establishment. Ryan did not have the official endorsement of the House Freedom Caucus, and he broke a promise to House Republicans that he would not run for the Speakership without it. Ryan ascended to the Speakership in a campaign built on that lie, and the divide inside the Republican conference between grassroots conservatives and establishment moderates has existed ever since.
Assuming Republicans hold the majority in November, there is a massive opportunity for the party–and Meadows and Jordan will play an outsized role in this fight–to reunite the factions against the institutional left and Democratic Party. It remains to be seen how that will shape up, but Meadows’ efforts to increase his national profile in visits to South Carolina and Iowa, among other places, will be seen as significant.
McCarthy, meanwhile, has been making efforts to patch things up with conservatives–donating significant resources from his leadership PAC to grassroots candidates like Dr. Mark Harris in North Carolina and Danny Tarkanian in Nevada. He has also appeared on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel and written an op-ed for Breitbart News on the threat of the rise of the Masters of the Universe in Silicon Valley.
Meadows, however, has officially endorsed Jordan for the Speakership. If Republicans do hold the majority, it will be incumbent upon whomever gets that Speakership to unite the warring factions and cross the threshold of 218 votes–the necessary pre-requisite to being Speaker of the House.
“Mark is 100 percent committed to holding the majority in the House, adding seats in the Senate, and ensuring President Trump’s re-election in 2020,” one source close to Meadows told Breitbart News.