Yesterday, California Republican Devin Nunes announced he is resigning from Congress to become the CEO of the Trump Media & Technology Group. New York’s Jonathan Chait suggested this proves that disseminating pro-Trump propaganda is a passion for Nunes, not just a strategy for advancing his career in an increasingly Trumpy GOP:
That Nunes would leave Congress to work for Trump’s newest venture undercuts the theory that he is a cynic and lends weight to the notion that he is operating from pure conviction. Had he stayed in Congress past the 2022 elections, which are overwhelmingly likely to hand control of Congress to his party, he was poised to inherit the chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee. That post not only would have given him enormous influence over policy, especially taxes, but is also an extraordinarily lucrative perch from which to launch a career as a lobbyist.
So Nunes walked away from a license to print money to work for a career crook who is known for screwing over his partners and blaming them for his crimes. The new Trump venture is already facing a potential SEC investigation.
Here’s another theory: Nunes couldn’t take the online heat, so he got out of the kitchen.
Nunes is, hilariously, extremely sensitive to criticism — so sensitive, in fact, that he has filed a series of lawsuits against various journalists and media outlets that have published negative stories about him. Famously, he also sued Twitter, GOP strategist Liz Mair, and the accounts Devin Nunes’ Mom and Devin Nunes’ Cow over mean tweets. As you might have guessed, the latter two do not belong to Nunes’s mother or an actual cow that learned how to type and is using this incredible skill to inform the world that Nunes is — in the account’s words — a “treasonous cowpoke” who’s “udder-ly worthless.” In the 2019 lawsuit, Nunes claimed that obviously satirical remarks like these contributed to “an orchestrated defamation campaign of stunning breadth and scope, one that no human being should ever have to bear and suffer in their whole life.”
It may seem odd that someone with such a low tolerance for internet discourse (and a poor grasp of First Amendment protections) would plunge himself even deeper into the hellscape that is social media. As The Verge explains, running Truth Social, Trump’s forthcoming social-media site, is a big part of the gig:
As CEO of TMTG, he would be in charge of the upcoming social-media platform Truth Social, hoping to go toe to toe with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Parag Agrawal of Twitter (both platforms banned the former president earlier this year for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol). Nunes will also run streaming platform TMTG Plus, which the company says is a subscription-based video service full of “non-woke entertainment, news, documentaries, podcasts and more.”
According to TMTG chairman Donald Trump, “Congressman Devin Nunes is a fighter and a leader. He will make an excellent CEO of TMTG. 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.”
But it all makes sense if you read Truth Social’s terms of service. Under “prohibited activities,” the rules state, “As a user of the Site, you agree not to … disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.” (Hat tip to Brad Heath of Reuters, who spotted this back in October.)
So, presumably, while Truth Social users can insult Trumpy lawmakers if they wish, once Nunes becomes CEO he will become part of the “us” protected from online disparagement. Truth Social will be a safe space for its easily offended leaders.
Meanwhile, the Devin Nunes’ Alt-Mom and Devin Nunes’ Cow accounts are taking the heat, though kitchens tend to be a fraught place for both moms and cows. (@DevinNunesMom was suspended, and Nunes later sued @NunesAlt, which is operated by the same user.) Twitter and Mair have been dismissed from Nunes’s lawsuit, but, as the Sacramento Bee reports, “the congressman continues to attempt to sue the writers behind the anonymous accounts.” The two accounts never stopped tweeting political humor centered on their least-favorite congressman. They reacted to Nunes’s new job with memes and plenty of celebratory retweeting:
@DevinCow has been hosting a GoFundMe to cover its legal fees and has raised $176,000 of its $250,000 goal. “These parodies are anonymous on Twitter, however, they are real people behind these accounts who have retained attorneys to respond, and fight these allegations,” the campaign’s description reads. “The cast of characters upholding and supporting this law fare must be dragged into sunlight, with full transparency. They, and those who prop them up, must stop.”