Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) intends to leave the House of Representatives by year’s end to take a job as head of a fledgling Trump-owned social media company.
The soon-to-be-former congressman made the announcement via an email to his supporters.
“I will deeply miss being your congressman,” Nunes said, according to the LA Times.
Nunes, who spent 19 years in Congress, was re-elected to the seat in November 2020 for a two-year term ending next year. A successor must be selected by election.
Nunes to Work for Trump
Nunes is leaving the 22nd District Congressional seat to take a job as head of the Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG). The company announced Nunes’ new position, which begins in January 2022, via a press release shortly after the resignation announcement.
TMTG purports it will provide an alternative source of social media free of political discrimination allegedly fostered by “big tech” through the “cancelling cancel culture,” according to its website. TMTG–founded in February of this year by President Donald Trump–merged in October with Chinese-financed Digital World Acquisition Corporation.
“The time has come to reopen the Internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship,” Nunes said in the TMTG press release announcing his hiring. “The United States of America made the dream of the Internet a reality, and it will be an American company that restores the dream. I’m humbled and honored President Trump has asked me to lead the mission and the world class team that will deliver on this promise.”
The position marks Nunes’ first foray as an adult into employment in the private sector. Prior to his two decades in Congress, Nunes worked on his family’s Tulare dairy. His previous political experience was a six-year stint on the governing board of the College of the Sequoias begun in 1996 at age 23. Nunes is 48.
Trump Praises Nunes
Nunes, former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was part of Trumps transition team and a vocal ally of Trump during a congressional investigation into possible foreign influence in 2016 presidential elections. The congressman first made national headlines in that matter when he made an unusual midnight visit to the Trump White House to share intelligence regarding the investigation with Trump. He would later recuse himself from overseeing the investigation.
“Congressman Devin Nunes is a fighter and a leader,” Trump stated in the TMTG press release. “He will make an excellent CEO of TMTG. Devin understands that we must stop the liberal media and big tech from destroying the freedoms that make America great.”
TMTG corporate headquarters are located in Palm Beach, Florida, also home to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, which serves as his primary residence. It is unknown if Nunes will relocate.
TMTG “will provide an outlet that encourages open global conversation without discrimination against political ideology,” the release states. The new company is an apparent reaction to the removal of Trump’s accounts from all major social media platforms in the weeks leading to his 2020 defeat.
NY Times: Nunes Couldn’t Win Re-Election
In leaving Congress, Nunes foregoes a choice leadership appointment to the influential House Ways and Means Committee if he were re-elected and Republicans regained control of the House. However, extending his congressional career in the 22nd District would have proved “almost impossible,” according to reporting in the New York Times announcing Nunes’ departure.
According to the NY Times, the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Committee is poised to redraw the 22nd District in a way that “was almost certain to flip” its long-standing allegiance to Republican candidates. But, that report also presented the possibility Nunes could switch to a newly created district that remains loyal to the GOP.
With the resignation, the 22nd District seat will remain unoccupied until a replacement for Nunes can be elected. While the US Constitution leaves the means of selecting replacement members of Congress to individual states, California requires midterm replacement representatives be elected. The next scheduled election covering the entirety of the 22nd Congressional District is in June 2022.
Gov. Gavin Newsome could call a special election to replace Nunes. However, when disgraced GOP representative Duncan Hunter resigned after pleading guilty to misuse of campaign funds, Newsome declined to call a special election, leaving his seat vacant until the following general election.
The governor’s decision to wait was due to the timing of Hunter’s resignation in January 2020. Nunes’ resignation falls at a nearly identical moment in the election cycle, meaning the 22nd District may be left without representation in the wake of Nunes’ abrupt decision to leave.