WASHINGTON — New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins is the most wanted man on the House floor these days. According to one Capitol Hill source, members of Congress are in a flurry during votes looking for the man who is in charge of collecting resumes from his colleagues who are interested in working for the incoming Trump administration.
“All of them are asking, ‘Where’s Chris Collins?’” the source mentioned to The Daily Caller.
Collins, a Western New York representative who was first elected to Congress after losing reelection of his Executive post in Erie County, is entering his third term in the House next year.
.@RepChrisCollins Chris, thank you so much for your wonderful endorsement. I will not let you down! @CNN
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2016
He gained national attention when he became the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump. Collins at one point stood by Trump as the only member of Congress who would support him, while Trump’s primary opponents racked up endorsements from the upper and lower chambers on Capitol Hill.
The endorsement from Collins, especially as a relatively newer member, was not initially seen as a necessarily powerful endorsement at the time, given he and Trump share the same home state and an aggressive political activist ally, Carl Paladino, who lives in Collins’ district.
Nevertheless, as the first endorser, Collins appears to be well on his way to be handsomely rewarded for his loyalty to Trump. House Speaker Paul Ryan named Collins the Congressional Liaison to the transition team following discussions the New York congressman had with President-elect Trump and with Speaker Ryan.
Additionally, Collins is also on the executive committee of the transition team as a conduit between members and the transition team in regards to personnel.
“A lot of these members are more than qualified for a cabinet position, cabinet secretary, undersecretary, etce. …and so his job is to get those resumes an take them to the right people to the Trump transition team,” one congressional aide told the Daily Caller. “And it’s not just for members. Right now they’re obviously focused on members only requests, basically. Obviously, the Trump administration is hiring. Eventually, it will be for undersecretaries, staffers—for people in their district that are interested in working for the administration.”
According to the aide, the process “fits into the narrative that Donald Trump is looking to hire the best and the brightest.”
And what about those members who ignored him before and now want face time with the Buffalo congressman?
“He knows everyone in the conference but there’s definitely a new found popularity. He’s having fun with it,” said the aide, who recalled how much the House “Trump caucus” has grown from five or six members when Collins first launched it to another meeting this week where 50 members appeared who had never been there before.
“So it’s funny how that works,” said the aide who noted that regardless of past issues there is a “unified front” with Republicans in Congress. A few Democrats have also slipped Collins their resumes as well.
“I think there are a handful of Democrats that are interested in working in the administration. As we’ve seen Donald Trump is being very strategic with whom those Democrats are. They’re senators in very Republican states, but he’s looking for the best and brightest no matter the political affiliation.”