Rep. Trey Gowdy will not be running for House Majority Leader, despite leading conservatives’ efforts to draft him to the position.
Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks, received a flood of endorsements Tuesday from fellow lawmakers who hoped to encourage him to make a bid for the House of Representatives’ second most powerful job.
But when asked late Tuesday whether he’s running for majority leader, Gowdy answered: “I’m not.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy, asked whether he is running for majority leader
Instead, Gowdy wishes to remain focused on his current responsibilities, his spokeswoman said.
“Chairman Gowdy is focused on the Benghazi Committee,” said the spokeswoman, Amanda Duval. “Honoring his current commitment to the Benghazi Select Committee is most important to him.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, started the movement Tuesday morning by touting Gowdy during an appearance on Fox News Channel.
“The Republican conference needs someone who can unite the body, who can represent us far and wide, and who can articulate the message, and you know what, Trey Gowdy is the best person to do that,” Chaffetz said. “If you want the best person to make the Republican case, if you want the best person to talk about why conservatism is the right answer for America, Trey Gowdy is our best foot forward. I think Trey Gowdy as the majority leader would be heaven-sent.”
Afterwards, Chaffetz tweeted he “made my best pitch this morning on @FoxNews that Trey Gowdy @TGowdySC should be our next Majority Leader.”
Also active on twitter was Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, who typed, “Join me in drafting Trey Gowdy for Majority Leader.”
Trey thrives on professional conflict; he doesn’t thrive on personal conflict. It’s hard to be majority leader if you can’t handle personal conflict.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C.
However, fellow Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., later tweeted that he had spoken with Gowdy and that he was not interested in the post.
“After talking w’ @TGowdySC for 20 mins, he made it clear that he is OUT of any consideration for any leadership position,” Mulvaney posted.
Gowdy’s role on the Benghazi committee makes it difficult for the lawmaker to imagine doing anything else, Mulvaney said.
“He said he had thought about it last night and he decided that he wants to do what he knows he can do best, which is work the Benghazi committee and stay with it to its full completion,” Mulvaney told McClatchy. “Trey’s a very project-oriented guy – he would never leave a case in the middle – and I think he looks at Benghazi the same way. He knows what he’s doing and he knows he can help the effort there. I’m not sure he knows if he’d be a good majority leader.”
Though it’s unlikely Gowdy will actively campaign for the number-two spot, he’d accept the position were it forced upon him, Chaffetz countered.
“Trey Gowdy is not the kind of person who’s going to go out and overtly campaign for it,” Chaffetz said. “But if the conference rallies behind him, I think he would reluctantly serve. I’ve talked to Gowdy as recently as a few minutes ago, so I feel pretty confident in that position.”
However, Gowdy possesses an aversion to “personal conflict” which would make it difficult to tackle the challenges being majority leader would bring, Mulvaney said.
“I can’t imagine,” Mulvaney said when asked if he thought Gowdy would bow to pressure. “Trey thrives on professional conflict; he doesn’t thrive on personal conflict. It’s hard to be majority leader if you can’t handle personal conflict.”
William Douglas contributed to this report.