WASHINGTON (CN) – Rep. Trey Gowdy, a conservative from South Carolina, has withdrawn his name from consideration to be the nation’s next FBI director.
In a statement posted on his website Tuesday morning, Gowdy said Americans must have confidence in the “objectivity, independence, and evenhandedness” of the next FBI director, and revealed that he’s told Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he doesn’t think he’s the right person for the job.
Gowdy endorsed Donald Trump for president in May 2016, after initially supporting Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in the early presidential primaries, and later served on Trump’s presidential transition team.
Gowdy said he was out of the country when former FBI Director James Comey was fired, but that he spoke with Sessions shortly thereafter.
“I shared with him two things: (1) the qualities I believe are indispensable for our next FBI Director to possess, and (2) my firm conviction that I would not be the right person,” Gowdy said.
“I greatly appreciate the Attorney General speaking with me and respecting my decision and I wish him wisdom as he interviews potential candidates,” he added.
Gowdy is best known nationally for leading the congressional inquiry into the attacks on a U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
A former federal prosecutor and state attorney, he was first elected to Congress in 2010 as a standard-bearer of the Tea Party.
Another Republican whose name had been mentioned as a possible candidate,Texas Sen. John Cornyn has also told the Trump administration he isn’t interested in serving as FBI director.
Cornyn, a former Texas attorney general and judge on the state supreme court, was interviewed for the position after President Donald Trump abruptly fired James Comey last week. But Cornyn said in a statement Tuesday that he would rather remain in the Senate.
“Now more than ever the country needs a well-credentialed, independent FBI director,” Cornyn said. “I’ve informed the administration that I’m committed to helping them find such an individual, and that the best way I can serve is continuing to fight for a conservative agenda in the U.S. Senate.”