Last week, Americans were fascinated by the fight in Washington as Republicans battled over the election of a speaker of the House. Congressman Chip Roy of Texas, a conservative member of the House Freedom Caucus, led the fight. The Southern Baptist is a man of faith and conviction whose presence should give Christians some peace about the road ahead.
“I haven’t been promised anything. Literally, I have got nothing out of this deal for me personally. Does that mean I might end up on a Rules Committee? Maybe, if that’s what the — my colleagues want. We still have to go through that process. But what we have extracted are promises from the speaker to make sure that we have ideological diversity and representation among these committees,” Roy told Jake Tapper on CNN. That level of personal disinterest favoring convictional and principled politics is what sets Roy apart in Washington. Even his detractors in the speaker’s fight acknowledged McCarthy’s team could trust him because for Roy the fight was about principles.
Chip Roy and his wife are longtime friends to me and my wife. My wife is now battling genetic lung cancer. Years before, Chip had his own fight with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Now, Chip is always one of the first to check on my wife and offer prayers. He would rather listen to Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash than the speeches of other politicians, but Chip feels a real calling to the fight.
Before his election to the House, Chip worked for Sen. John Cornyn of Texas as Cornyn’s staff director and senior counsel on the Judiciary Committee. When George W. Bush nominated Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, Chip realized early on she was a bad pick. He helped organize Republican staff to, behind the scenes, sabotage the nomination. Rumors started swirling about Miers having a poor performance in interviews with various Republican senators and terrible answers to questions. The rumors started before Miers even began having those meetings and set standards for performance so high that when the meetings did begin, Miers did fail to meet expectations.
The staff rebellion Chip Roy helped organize spared the nation from Harriet Miers and paved the way for the author of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, now Justice Samuel Alito. In 2009, Chip left Cornyn’s office and headed to Texas to help Gov. Rick Perry. Chip became the ghost writer for Perry’s book Fed Up! The book forecast Perry’s run against Washington in 2012 and anyone who wants to know where Chip stands on any issue should read it.
The basic premise of the book is that Washington has grown too big and stretched outside the confines of constitutional parameters set forth in Article 1, Section 8 of the constitution. “America is Great, Washington is Broken,” is the first chapter and theme of the book. From Congress’s failure to legislate to an out-of-control and unaccountable bureaucracy to unelected judges serving as super legislators, the book presciently predicted fights the nation is now having and that have played out in Washington.
After Perry, Chip became Chief of Staff to Sen. Ted Cruz. In Cruz’s first term, he and Chip led conservatives to a fight that provoked a government shutdown over Obamacare funding and spending. During those fights, Chip told Politico, “The Washington establishment uses every tool at its disposal to push its own narrative on the American public—and in this case, it’s the narrative of ‘we can’t.’ They plant stories, strong-arm members and try to create fake ‘wins’ for cover that simply do not change the status quo. It is important that we push back.”
Chip then moved from Cruz’s office to First Assistant Attorney General of Texas under Ken Paxton. Chip was, when Paxton was unavailable, the acting Attorney General for Texas. In that role, Chip picked fights with the Obama Administration on gay rights issues and immigration, including suing about the policy known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.
In 2018, Chip got elected to Congress, representing a district between Austin and San Antonio. He went from behind the scenes to in front of cameras leading fights. He often publicly disagreed with the Trump Administration on government spending. He has been prophetic in his warning about precedents that the left might use later through governance by executive order. He has tirelessly fought for religious liberty.
The fight Americans saw last week was quintessentially Chip Roy. Others had various motives, but Chip made it about principles of governance. He wanted the speaker to agree to open legislation, that now novel concept that congressmen must draft laws, debate them, and consider amendments instead of having House leaders draft legislation not subject to challenge. He wanted reforms in the budget process. In return, he needed nothing for himself because he understands that the process, if fixed, benefits everyone.
Chip Roy is led by his faith. He’s willing to be in the lion’s den knowing he is right with God. He does not need anything from Washington, but America truly needs a man like him in this fight. He is in the fight in order to make a difference.