Devin Nunes announces he will resign House seat to head Trump's new media company

Ordinarily, when a politician suddenly announces he is resigning his office, my first thought is a that he is dodging a scandal.  But in the case of Devin Nunes's surprise declaration yesterday that he will be heading up President Trump's new Trump Media & Technology Group, the billion-dollar startup that will be challenging social media censorship and building a free speech alternative online, I don't think so.

For one thing, Nunes has been one of the prime targets of the Democrats for years.  His unwavering support for President Trump and his effective investigations when the GOP held the majority, and he enjoyed a chairmanship, subjected him to intense scrutiny by the netherworld of the donkeys' oppo research apparatus.

The boundaries of Nunes's constituency were redistricted, and, as the New York Times put it, he

faced almost impossible odds in being re-elected to the Central Valley district that his family has farmed for three generations. A new map emerging from an independent citizens' redistricting commission was almost certain to flip it from a district Mr. Trump won handily to one President Biden would have won.

Nunes could have moved to a new Central Valley district in California that would have been GOP-friendly, but he didn't.  Perhaps it has much to do with his multi-generation roots.  Or perhaps it had to do with boredom with the job of representative after ten terms.  (I personally knew a very smart multi-term House member decades ago who voluntarily left his safe seat out of boredom to take an executive job and privately stated that boredom was the major factor.)

If the GOP wins a majority in 2022, Nunes was in line to become chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, considered second only to the speaker in influence as it handles tax legislation.  But the intense wheeling and dealing that job demands may not have been attractive to his personality, which seems to include a large crusader element.

Without question, the new job Nunes is taking will be challenging, and it no doubt includes stock options or other contingent compensation that could make him very wealthy.  His announcement included the following:

"I'm writing to let you know I've decided to pursue this opportunity, and therefore I will be leaving the House of Representatives at the end of 2021," Nunes said in a letter to his constituents.

Moments after his statement, the Trump Media & Technology Group released its own saying Nunes would be its chief executive officer.

There will a special election to fill the remainder of his term in 2022, and it is uncertain which party will win, but with public opinion trending against the Dems, the as yet unannounced GOP candidate may have an advantage in the old district lines.  But the district lines will change for the 2022 election, so the advantage of incumbency will be less than usual.

My wild guess, based on no inside information, is that Nunes is excited by the opportunity he sees to break the arrogant monopolies he sees in social media.  Perhaps the example of Fox News breaking the cable and broadcast news monopolization by progressives is in the back of his mind.  After decades of merely voting in bills, he wants to build something that lasts.

Photo credit: YouTube screen grab.

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