Congressman Cites Stormy Daniels, President Donald Trump in Decision Not to Run for Re-election

Pennsylvania Representative Ryan Costello is walking away from his congressional seat, telling CNN he was tired of being hounded about questions pertaining to President Donald Trump.

The political moderate, who nabbed a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014 and again in 2016, said he was fatigued by having to answer for the blustering business mogul's controversial remarks. He would much rather talk about pressing legislative issues, he said in an interview with the cable news station on Saturday.

"No matter what I say or do, I feel all I do is answer questions about Donald Trump, rather than health insurance or tax policy," Costello said. "I think it's a very challenging political environment, and when you add on top of that just the demands from a work-family balance, I just felt it was best for me to take stock in my life and have eight months to decide what I'm going to do next, rather than, potentially, six weeks."

In a separate interview, he alluded to the controversy surrounding adult film star and alleged Trump paramour Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, who is involved in a legal dispute with Trump and his personal lawyer in an effort to wipe out a confidentiality agreement.

"We're talking about porn stars and the president, rather than about tax policy, or what we need to get done by the end of the year, or what should have been in the omnibus," Costello told MSNBC's Kasie Hunt.

Costello, who welcomed a second child in July 2017, announced that he wouldn't be seeking re-election in March. Had he chosen to fight for his seat, the congressional newcomer would have faced a newly redrawn suburban district that stacked his potential voters with Democrats. The Pennsylvania map was redistricted at the urging of Democrats and supporters, who contested a previous map that was more favorable to conservatives.

"The state Supreme Court decided that they were going to try and take me out," Costello opined, noting that he wanted to spend time with his family.

A lack of public trust also dogged Costello's time in office, a symptom he attributed to a widening partisan divide.

"I feel, increasingly, that if you're a member of Congress, they assume that you're not good," he told CNN in a recent interview. "They assume that you're not telling the truth. No matter what you do, someone's out there locked and loaded to say something disparaging, false, mean, in an attempt to have other people not like you."

More than 40 conservative lawmakers are also putting the kibosh on re-election campaigns, leading to cautious excitement among Democrats, who need about 24 net seats to take back the House. While Trump's new status as the standard-bearer of the Republican Party is rumored to be the cause of many of the resignations and retirements, Costello is among the first few lawmakers who have issued pointed statements directly blaming Trump for their decision not to seek office again.

They include Senator Jeff Flake, who railed against the current state of politics and Trump in a resignation speech delivered to his colleagues.

"We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country," Flake said in a speech that soon went viral. "The personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve."

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U.S. Representative Ryan Costello (right, R-PA) listens as Senator Susan Collins (left, R-ME) speaks at a news conference at the Capitol on March 21. Alex Wong/Getty Images
Congressman Cites Stormy Daniels, President Donald Trump in Decision Not to Run for Re-election | U.S.