Anti-LGBTQ+ Congressman Devin Nunes is resigning to become CEO of Donald Trump’s media company.
Nunes, who represents California’s 22nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, announced Monday that he will leave office at the end of the year. Shortly thereafter, the Trump Media & Technology Group released a statement saying Nunes will be its CEO.
The 10-term congressman is a Republican and proved himself a staunch supporter of the former president throughout impeachment trials the investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia. He represents a conservative, largely rural district in central California’s San Joaquin Valley. His record on LGBTQ+ rights is dismal; he has a string of zeroes on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard.
Nunes grew up on his family’s dairy farm in California, and he has emphasized this background as part of his political identity. However, his father and brothers moved the operation to Iowa more than a decade ago, as detailed in a 2018 Esquire story, which Nunes sued over, contending it defamed him. Nunes later invested in a California farm and sued a man who sought to keep Nunes from calling himself a farmer on the election ballot. The congressman also famously sued people running Twitter accounts making fun of him, including one claiming to be Nunes’s cow. The “cow” celebrated Nunes’s resignation from Congress.
It’s unclear exactly what Trump’s new media venture will consist of. It claims to be creating a social network, but Bloomberg news service columnist Matt Levine has noted, “so far there is almost no sign that TMTG is actually building a social network or a streaming platform or anything else.” Also, a company called Digital World Acquisition Corp., which was created strictly to acquire other companies and has merged with the Trump venture, is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Nunes, who has no experience in technology, may be getting out of Congress because he fears defeat in next November’s election, political observers suggest. His district is currently heavily Republican, but redistricting plans being considered by an independent commission in California would make it much more competitive, FiveThirtyEight reports.
Now that he’s leaving office, there will likely be a special election for someone to serve the rest of his term, and the district’s current boundaries will still be in place when this happens. California Gov. Gavin Newsom hasn’t announced when the special election will occur.