Trump’s new chief of staff hasn't resigned from Congress. Why is he representing the White House in coronavirus negotiations?
U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows was appointed by President Donald Trump to be the latest White House Chief of Staff on March 6, but the Republican representing North Carolina’s 11th District has not officially resigned from Congress. Nevertheless he is representing the White House as Chief of Staff, and even working on vital coronavirus legislation – not in his role representing the people of Nortyh Caolina, but in his role representing the White House.
Last week Congressman Meadows posted to Facebook that he was “working at the White House again this week transitioning into the Chief of Staff role – working with Mick Mulvaney and the team here to ensure the switch is as smooth as possible. Things are going well,” he said.
Washington Post congressional reporter Paul Kane tweeted on Tuesday that Meadows was back in Congress, but as the official Chief of Staff, and that Meadows himself admits he still has not resigned as a U.S. Congressman.
Meadows told reporters he "still hasn't resigned" from House. So this is one really odd, long transition. He's inco… https://t.co/GPTGsgp20z— Paul Kane (@Paul Kane) 1585062308.0
The U.S. Constitution is clear:
“No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.”
The Annenberg Guide to the United States Constitution explains:
“To ensure the separation of powers among the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government, Article I, Section 6, prohibits a senator or representative from holding any other federal office during his or her service in Congress.”
Meadows self-quarantined after he was announced, and his appointment technically is effective April 1, but he has been working inside the White House for well over a week.
On March 13 he wrote a lengthy letter to his constituents, saying in part: “While I haven’t officially started the Chief of Staff job yet, we’ve been hitting the ground running in the midst of a few weeks transition. I’ll still formally be a member of Congress until I resign and join the White House full time, which should be sometime over the next couple weeks. I’ll keep you all updated with as much info as we can. NC-11 constituent services will continue both now and after I step away, as we’ll make clear with more info soon. Stay tuned.”
Calls to Meadows’ D.C. and North Carolina offices went unanswered, and did calls to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s office. All used recording saying due to COVID-19 they were unable to answer the phone.