Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., announced Monday he is leaving Congress at the end of the year to head up former President Donald Trump’s new media company.
If politics is all about making headlines these days, it makes sense for politicians to just join the media.
Nunes said he was out because he was “presented with a new opportunity to fight for the most important issues” and that “rest assured, I have not, by any means, given up our collective fight—I’ll just be pursuing it through other means.”
NEW: Representative Devin Nunes is quitting Congress to head Donald Trump's new media startup https://t.co/Kyod4rl5vd
— Bloomberg (@business) December 6, 2021
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Nunes’ exodus “leaves a gaping hole in this institution.”
But Nunes is hardly unique in pursuing this path to power, especially on the right. .. Take former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon:
Bannon has gone to found other ventures, as well as prominently run afoul of the law (also keeping him in the headlines), and is a continued MAGA megastar four-and-a-half years after leaving government.
But it’s not just Bannon, take Newt Gingrich:
Gingrich had been floated for Secretary of State, but elected to influence Trump (and make some money) in the private sector, appear on Fox News quite frequently, and pen a novel called “Collusion” defending Trump.
… and, perhaps more famously, Rudy Giuliani followed the former Speaker’s lead:
Giuliani had been lobbying for the Secretary of State job Gingrich didn’t want, and when he didn’t get it, he stayed in the private sector and worked as Trump’s personal attorney… it wasn’t all. roses: that tact notably culminated in his involvement in the Ukraine and January 6 scandals.
- But for someone who has been out of government since 2001, Giuliani has remarkably stayed in the game.
DECLINE OF CONGRESS?
But this phenomenon has been perhaps more acute in the House of Representatives.
- Seasoned Hill watchers noted that Nunes, if he secured re-election and Republicans romped next November as expected, was about to be the chair of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, which controls taxation.
Nunes was about to Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Unbelievable.
— Brendan Buck (@BrendanBuck) December 6, 2021
The Wall Street Journal condemned the House last month in a board editorial called “The Decline of Congress.”
- “Congress has a public approval rating of 22%, which makes us wonder what the 22% are watching,” the board sniped.
Add in that the more outlaw members, such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have been able to remain fundraising. machines despite not climbing the traditional ladder:
USA TODAY analyzed fundraising by six of the most prominent Republicans known for inflammatory rhetoric and fundraising by the six members of the liberal "squad." https://t.co/t4MeX9sF8t pic.twitter.com/0ABh4llQN4
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) December 5, 2021
This “entertainment” first approach has been maligned before, and the critics were famously wrong.
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) July 17, 2015