(CBS News) – Republican Congressman Mark Meadows of North Carolina, one of President Trump’s closest allies in Congress, will not seek reelection, he announced Thursday.

“For everything there is a season,” Meadows said in a statement. “After prayerful consideration and discussion with family, today I’m announcing that my time serving Western North Carolina in Congress will come to a close at the end of this term.”

A founding member and former chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Meadows is one of the president’s chief defenders in Congress. The announcement of his retirement comes the day after the House approved two articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump.

Meadows, 60, did not specify what he would be doing after leaving Congress, but said his work with the president and his administration “is only beginning.”

“This president has accomplished incredible results for the country in just three years, and I’m fully committed to staying in the fight with him and his team to build on those successes and deliver on his promises for the years to come,” the North Carolina Republican said. “I’ve always said Congress is a temporary job, but the fight to return Washington, D.C., to its rightful owner, We The People, has only just begun.”

Meadows is the 25th House Republican set to leave Congress due to retirement or to seek other office, according to the House Press Gallery. He is the third North Carolina Republican to announce retirement.

Meadows was reelected to Congress in November with 59% of the vote. He was first elected to represent North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District in 2012.

The congressman was among the candidates to replace John Kelly as White House chief of staff in late 2018, and Meadows said then it would be an “honor” to serve in the post.

But then-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Mr. Trump told Meadows he was needed in Congress. The North Carolina Republican said in December 2018 he was “fully committed” to continuing to represent his district and working alongside the president.

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