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Rooney Will Not Run for Re-election

2 min read

Remember Francis Rooney (R-FL)? Yesterday he said he was open to impeaching Trump:

Rooney, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the center of the inquiry, said Friday that he had not yet come to a conclusion on whether the President committed a crime that compels his removal from office, a striking view among House Republicans defensive of Trump.…

Today he announced he will not run for re-election:

A day after Rep. Francis Rooney (Fla.) became the first House Republican to say he would consider voting to impeach President Trump, he announced his retirement.

The two-term congressman from a reliably conservative district announced on Fox News on Saturday that he has decided not to run for reelection. His spokesman subsequently confirmed the decision.…

Rooney is 65, a wealthy businessman, and was previously ambassador to the Vatican. He actually seems to be that increasingly vanishing type, a Republican who wants to serve his country.

Rooney told reporters on Friday when asked about the political consequences of potentially impeaching Trump that “I didn’t take this job to keep it. . . . I took this job to do the right thing at all times.”

Seems doing the right thing gets you in hot water with the GOP. We don’t know yet what pressures were brought to bear, though Rooney has said he is not afraid of Trump:

Asked if he was worried about Trump’s wrath, Rooney said he wasn’t.
“What’s he going to do to me? I mean, he can say bad things, but it’s just what it is,” Rooney said. “There’s a lot of people around who are seriously concerned about being criticized by the president. Seriously. I just want to call them as I see it. I want to get the facts and do the right thing because I’ll be looking at my children a lot longer than I’m looking to anybody in this building.”

That was yesterday.

Update: Rooney may have been planning his retirement for a while. FloridaPolitics reports he raised only $605 in the third quarter of  2019 — though he does have over $600,000 in the bank.

On the other hand, Rooney wasn’t always anti-Trump:

GOP Congressman says it's time to 'purge' FBI of anti-Trump elements (26 Dec 2017).

At this point, I have to say I’m not sure what’s going on here. It does seem Rooney shifted his views on Trump over time, decided he had to speak up, but also seemed to realize doing so would make his political life hell. It also seems he didn’t care all that if he did end up leaving the House.

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