Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah — who has caught considerable flak for refusing to use his position as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to vigorously investigate President Donald Trump — has announced that he is not seeking reelection in 2018.
In a Facebook post published on Wednesday, Chaffetz wrote that "after long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018." Although he left open the possibility that he would seek public office in the future, he emphasized that he would not do so in 2018.
"For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives," Chaffetz added. "I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins. I have the full support of Speaker Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector."
One of the main controversies surrounding Chaffetz has been his willingness to make excuses for Trump, in stark contrast to his vociferous approach in handling comparable scandals about Hillary Clinton. At one point, when asked if Trump was abusing his office for personal enrichment, Chaffetz ignored the president's numerous conflicts of interest and insisted that "he’s very rich. I don’t think that he ran for this office to line his pockets even more. I just don’t see it like that."
Chaffetz hasn't only put his foot in his mouth when it comes to shirking his responsibility to investigate Trump. When asked to defend President Trump's health care repeal bill, Chaffetz controversially argued that Americans who can't afford insurance do so because they prefer to spend money on frivolous items like iPhones.
People reading the tea leaves are speculating that Chaffetz's decision could be a bad omen for Republicans next year.
In February, Chaffetz speculated that the protesters who became staples of his town hall events did so "to bully and intimidate" him.