LOS ANGELES — Rep. Devin Nunes, a controversial Republican congressman from California's San Joaquin Valley, is leaving Congress to head a social media company created by former President Donald Trump.
“I will deeply miss being your congressman,” Nunes said in a message to his constituents Monday.
Shortly after he sent the note, the Trump Media & Technology Group announced that Nunes, 48, would be its chief executive officer beginning in January.
“The time has come to reopen the internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship,” Nunes said in a statement. “I’m humbled and honored President Trump has asked me to lead the mission.”
Sitting members of Congress face significant restrictions on negotiating private sector jobs while still in office. However, the constraints are widely disobeyed.
The former dairy farmer’s retirement comes in the midst of the every-decade redrawing of congressional districts and as California loses a member of Congress for the first time in its history. Under draft maps released in November, Nunes would have faced a tough reelection in in the 2022 midterms. But the incumbent is a prodigious fundraiser, reporting $11.8 million in cash on hand at the end of September, and could have sought office in a more favorable seat since members of Congress do not have to live in their districts.
If he had run and was successful, Nunes was poised to become chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee should Republicans take the majority in 2022, as expected.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., praised Nunes’ work for Californians.
“The Central Valley of California is better off because of his relentless pursuit of the priorities that sustain our way of life, from water to agriculture to health care to economic growth,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Devin’s departure leaves a gaping hole in this institution, but his dedication to our country will persist.”
Nunes’ prolific fundraising is notable among members who are not in leadership. It is an outgrowth of his prominence on the House Intelligence Committee and his senior position on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.