South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy is riding out the remainder of his time in Congress. He announced earlier this year that once this term was up, that was it. He would not run for reelection, and he was returning to his former life in the legal system.
A big part of that decision, according to Gowdy, was that he’s missed much of his life as a husband and father, spending too much time commuting between South Carolina and Washington.
Another big part, however, is the partisanship of Washington, D.C.
It apparently all came to a head with the House Intelligence Committee’s part in the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Committee chairman Devin Nunes made it clear from the beginning that the committee would be working to clear Donald Trump, rather than working to actually find out what happened.
Republicans and Democrats on the committee clashed, and if some insider reports are to be believed, Gowdy and Nunes clashed, over what Gowdy saw as Nunes’ partisan agenda.
Gowdy, who is currently on a book tour with his friend and fellow South Carolinian, Senator Tim Scott, to promote their book, “Unified,” recently sat down for an interview with Vice News’ Michael C. Moynihan.
In a video segment called “Republican Trey Gowdy was known for being hyperpartisan – until Trump,” Moynihan asks him about his time in Congress. Gowdy remarks, among other things, that he feels his time in Congress was wasted, because of the “ineffectiveness” that plagues Washington.
In the brief, 7 minute video, Gowdy explains that it’s all about winning for “your side,” and convincing yourself that the nation will “go to Hades in a handbasket” if your side doesn’t win.
The video goes on to point out that it was a reputation as a hyperpartisan that made Gowdy something of a “folk hero” in conservative circles, and that much is true. Whether it was Gowdy sinking his teeth into smug IRS commissioner John Koskinen, during the investigation into the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, or it was his shredding of Hillary Clinton in the Benghazi investigation, conservatives got excited when Gowdy, a former prosecutor, went to work.
With that in mind, hearing that the hyperpartisanship of Washington has dulled his taste for politics might come as a bit of a shock to some.
In one clip of Gowdy speaking while on the book tour, with Senator Scott by his side, Gowdy says, “Conciliation is more Christ-like, and I think it’s better for the long-term health of our culture.”
During the interview, Moynihan asks him plainly: “You didn’t like this job, did you?”
He didn’t. He likes the people, but the ineffectiveness of being one of 435 individuals, given 30 seconds to make his case, debating all day, and at the end of the day having not a single mind changed.
So how did the introduction of Trump as the face of the Republican party play into Gowdy’s current frame of mind?
He initially opposed him, being a vocal supporter of Senator Marco Rubio. He got on board when it became clear that Trump was to be the nominee.
Why? Did Trump change his mind, at any point?
“He was the nominee.”
Since that time, Gowdy has found himself out of favor with a lot of the same people who hailed his fierceness, before. He hasn’t been the devoted Trump advocate that is required – all-in for Trump, no matter what – and that has rubbed many of Trump’s faithful the wrong way.
Gowdy is sick of it. He’s tried it. He’s done his best to serve those who sent him to Congress, but now it’s time to be a private citizen again, so he’s going home.
I can respect that.