In an enormous victory for progressives, Representative Jason Chaffetz, the hyper-partisan chairman of the House Oversight Committee, announced on Wednesday his intention to leave Congress at the end of his term in 2018. His announcement shocked Washington, as he was long viewed as one of the most ambitious politicians in the Republican party.
Though Chaffetz did not immediately announce the reasons for his departure, some are crediting the loud, withering opposition Chaffetz has faced in the months since Trump’s election. As reported by The Hill: “[Chaffetz] faced a hostile town hall in February with constituents demanding to know why he wasn’t examining Trump’s conflicts of interests. Video of people shouting ‘do your job!’ ricocheted around the social media. Chaffetz later downplayed the angry protesters as ‘a paid attempt to bully and intimidate.’”
“Though Chaffetz’s district is unlikely to be a Democratic target next year, there were signs the negative headlines about declining to investigate the Trump administration were taking a toll.”
As reported on Restore Progress and elsewhere, given his extreme partisanship, Chaffetz had no business serving as the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Few, if any, moderates or Democrats believed that he could be trusted to seriously investigate the many allegations of wrongdoing plaguing the Trump administration. This is a major victory for the resistance, and is proof that town hall protests are an effective means of protesting the extremism of the Trump agenda, and those who enable it.