Congressman Mark Meadows, founder of the archconservative Freedom Caucus, will resign from his seat on Monday to officially begin his new role as Donald Trump’s chief of staff, just as public health experts warn the coronavirus pandemic is likely to worsen in the US.
Meadows, who has for years been Trump’s sounding board, will be the president’s fourth chief of staff in as many years. He will take over from Mick Mulvaney, a fellow former Freedom Caucus member who Trump kept in an “acting” capacity until pushing him out earlier this month.
A spokesman for Meadow’s congressional office said on Monday that he had moved to the White House to serve as an advisor to Meadows in his role as White House chief of staff on Monday. CNN reported that Meadows would formally resign on Monday afternoon.
Meadows takes over at a precarious moment for the president and the country, as the coronavirus takes a devastating toll. The US now leads the world in coronavirus cases after a series of missteps and missed opportunities by administration officials. More than 2,500 Americans have died from the disease.
On Sunday, Trump extended social distancing measures through the end of April.
Operating in something of a limbo between the roles, Meadows was present on Capitol Hill for the frenetic negotiations between Congress and the administration over a massive $2tn economic stimulus plan, which was signed into law by Trump on Friday.
Affable and accessible to the press, Meadows initially announced his retirement in December, saying then that he planned to leave Congress at the end of his term. But in his statement then, he teased the opportunity: “My work with President Trump and his administration is only beginning.”
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