WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tough-talking South Carolina Republican lawmaker and House Oversight Committee chairman Trey Gowdy announced Wednesday he will resign from Congress at the end of his term.
“I will not be filing for re-election to Congress nor seeking any other political or elected office; instead I will be returning to the justice system,” Gowdy said in a statement released to the press.
Gowdy, 53, says he feels driven at this point in his life to turn his attention toward the ongoing search for justice.
“Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system,” said Gowdy. “As I look back on my career, it is the jobs that both seek and reward fairness that are most rewarding.”
Known for his no-nonsense approach to Congressional issues and demand for truth, Gowdy has long been courted by his fellow Republicans to run for Speaker of the House, an offer he has often rejected.
A former prosecutor, Gowdy made a name for himself as chairman of a special House panel charged with investigating then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s response to the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, during which Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, State Department Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and diplomatic security agents Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed.
Gowdy’s announcement sparked overwhelming response from his Congressional colleagues, who said they were sorry to see him go.
“He will be sorely missed in Congress, and I wish him and his family success in their future endeavors,” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers said in a statement.
“I always said the reason @TGowdySC was amazing at his job was bc he disliked politics so much. Trey, thank you for your impatience, sacrifice, and fight to make our country a more just place. SC and our country thank you for your service. I thank you for your friendship,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Hayley tweeted in response to the news.
“There is a time to come and a time to go,” Gowdy tweeted to his followers. “This is the right time, for me, to leave politics and return to the justice system.”
“The NRCC is confident this seat will stay solidly in Republican control in November,” Stivers said of Gowdy’s soon-to-be-empty seat.
Gowdy’s northern South Carolina district is traditionally heavily Republican and includes the city of Greenville, which went solidly for Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election.