Nunes to resign from Congress, become CEO of Trump media firm
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a key Donald Trump ally who was poised to be the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee if Republicans win back the House in 2022, said Monday he will resign at the end of this month to become CEO of the former president’s new media and technology company.
“Recently, I was presented with a new opportunity to fight for the most important issues I believe in. 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 told constituents.
“Rest assured, I have not, by any means, given up our collective fight — I’ll just be pursuing it through other means,” he added.
Nunes, 48, is slated to begin his new role in January as CEO of Trump Media & Technology Group or TMTG, which is billing itself as an alternative to Big Tech. Trump and conservatives have spent the past year railing against Silicon Valley social media and tech firms, which they accuse of engaging in censorship and cancel culture.
“Congressman Devin Nunes is a fighter and a leader. He will make an excellent CEO of TMTG,” Trump said in a statement. “Devin understands that we must stop the liberal media and Big Tech from destroying the freedoms that make America great. America is ready for TRUTH Social and the end to censorship and political discrimination.”
In the same news release from TMTG, Nunes said, “The time has come to reopen the Internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship. The United States of America made the dream of the Internet a reality and it will be an American company that restores the dream.”
One GOP lawmaker reacted by saying, “I’m sure he will be making a lot of $$.”
The redistricting process could have played a major role in Nunes’s decision to retire as an initial proposed map would have moved the GOP lawmaker from a relatively safe Republican-leaning district to one where Democrats have the advantage.
A 10-term congressman, Nunes became a lightning rod during the Trump years when he was serving as the House Intelligence Committee chairman. In April 2017, he was forced to recuse himself from his own panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election the year before for revealing classified information.
Later, he would emerge as one of Trump’s chief defenders on Capitol Hill when Democrats launched impeachment proceedings against Trump for pressuring Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 elections.
The Nunes news shocked many of his GOP colleagues, who had expected him to seek — and win — the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee gavel if Republicans take back the House in next year’s midterm elections. That gavel had been a career-long ambition, and he had unsuccessfully sought it years earlier.
Longtime Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the current ranking member of Ways and Means who previously served as chairman, announced his retirement from Congress earlier this year.
Nunes’s resignation means there will now be a wide-open race to be the top Republican on Ways and Means. Senior Republicans who could run include Reps. Vern Buchanan (Fla.), Adrian Smith (Neb.) and Jason Smith (Mo.), who is also contemplating a bid for an open Senate seat or the House Budget Committee gavel.
This story was updated at 8:48 p.m.