Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), one of President Donald Trump’s staunchest defenders in Congress, announced on Friday he’ll be ending his time in the House of Representatives next year.

Meadows is one of the most visible House Republicans — and now becomes the 24th House Republican to announce his retirement in 2020, “further complicating the GOP’s path to regaining the chamber’s majority next year,” as Axios put it.

The congressman apparently had been considering the move for some months, but did not want to announce it prior to House impeachment proceedings in order to avoid any misunderstanding or inadvertent connection to that action.

Meadows was first elected to Congress in 2013.

In 2015, he helped create the House Freedom Caucus — and served as chair of the conservative group from 2017 to 2019.

Here’s the statement Meadows released about his news.

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“For everything there is a season. After prayerful consideration and discussion with family, today I’m announcing that my time serving Western North Carolina in Congress will come to a close at the end of this term,” said Meadows.

“This was a decision I struggled with greatly,” he continued. “These last 8 years, I have been so blessed to serve the people of NC-11 and help give a voice to millions of Americans who feel Washington, D.C., has forgotten them. Since serving alongside President Trump, I have been a witness to historic economic prosperity, unemployment levels I only dreamed of when I took office, tax and regulatory reforms that are putting the American worker first, our Israeli embassy moved to Jerusalem, and trade deals that were once thought impossible.”

“I have seen our law enforcement and first responders receive the support they deserve and our military once again put on a path to maintain its superiority. Through it all, I am so thankful to have been able to serve and give back to the great country I call home.”

“My work with President Trump and his administration is only beginning. This president has accomplished incredible results for the country in just 3 years, and I’m fully committed to staying in the fight with him and his team to build on those successes and deliver on his promises for the years to come. I’ve always said Congress is a temporary job, but the fight to return Washington, D.C., to its rightful owner, We The People, has only just begun.”

“To the people of Western North Carolina: It’s been my honor to be your Congressman. Thank you for your trust, faith, and support.”

“God bless you.”

Meadows, while having no immediate plans after he leaves Congress, is apparently open to joining the Trump administration, Axios reported.

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