Coming from different political parties that share views on almost nothing nowadays, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright and Rep. Lou Barletta mostly disagree.
They do agree on a departing colleague.
Both think highly of Rep. Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican who announced Wednesday he would not seek a fifth term.
“There is a time to come and a time to go. This is the right time, for me, to leave politics and return to the justice system,” Gowdy said in a tweet.
Gowdy serves as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He headed the select committee that investigated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on American diplomatic and spy compounds in Benghazi, Libya.
Cartwright, D-17, Moosic, also serves on the oversight committee. He and Gowdy played nine holes of golf against each other during the charity congressional tournament last June, he said. He acknowledged Gowdy, a much better golfer than he is, clinched victory by the seventh hole.
“I don’t know Trey that well, but I like him,” Cartwright said. “On several occasions, I have seen him refuse to put up with conduct that I thought was unfair and unseemly on the part of other Republicans … We have a wide range of policy disagreements, but he’s a gentleman and he tells the truth.”
Barletta, who like Gowdy joined the House in January 2011, called him “one of the best House members.” Gowdy, grew frustrated at the ways of Washington, he said.
“He never intended to be there his whole life,” Barletta said. “He’s played a major role in some of the controversies that have gone on. I believe that’s why he gets respect from Democrats as well as Republicans. He handled it in a way that really took politics out of it.”
Barletta said Gowdy declined to speed up the Benghazi investigation to complete it before the 2016 election.
“He felt that it needed to be done properly, thoroughly and honestly and that’s who Trey Gowdy is,” Barletta said. “He’s a nuts and bolts type of guy and I sensed that sometimes he may even have been uncomfortable with the attention that he gets because he’s not a glamour boy. He’s not someone that’s in it for the attention. I’m happy for him, but it is a loss to Congress. He was a great member.”
Democrats criticized Gowdy, saying he stretched the investigation into an election year, 2016, to hurt Clinton presidential aspirations. The select committee sharply criticized Clinton’s behavior.
Speculation has centered on President Donald Trump appointing Gowdy to a federal appeals court seat, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the president names Gowdy, a former assistant U.S. Attorney, as South Carolina’s U.S. attorney.
The state has had an interim U.S. Attorney, Beth Drake, since just before Trump took office.