As long as he continues to live and breathe, former President Donald Trump will promulgate the lie that he never lost an election, and he'll have his new, ironically named social media platform Truth Social to help him do it. By his side, at least until he's fired, will be one of his most loyal yap dogs, Rep. Devin Nunes, who we now learn is quitting Congress to become the CEO of Trump's new media company.
California Congressman Devin Nunes has served a reliably Republican district in Tulare County for 19 years, but that was likely coming to an end in the next election anyway. As the New York Times and others have reported, redistricting is likely to flip Nunes's district to one that President Joe Biden would have won, and Nunes would have had to run in a newly created district that will likely vote Republican if he wanted to continue his political career.
His calculus now, though, "signals where he thinks power lies in the Republican Party and the conservative movement," as the Times notes, which is to say, with Trump, and forever and ever with Trump.
This could be a good bet and a profitable one, at least in the short term. The Trump Media & Technology Group recently secured an alleged $300 million in SPAC funds to get itself off the ground, with the latest conservative attempt at a Twitter copycat — free of censorship for Nazis and racists — at its core. But as the Times reported following Trump's October 20 announcement about the funding, the details were vague, and "The statement he issued was reminiscent of the kind of claims he made about his business dealings in New York as a real estate developer... replete with high-dollar amounts and superlatives that could not be verified."
But whether Trump can actually get such a venture successfully off the ground is entirely another story. Does he want his own broadcast network, as was long rumored before he became president? And can he really go toe-to-toe with Fox News and grab enough market share in short order to satisfy his notoriously fragile ego? And how quickly do he or any of his minions think they can build a viable Twitter/Facebook competitor and attract enough to users to satisfy the aforementioned ego?
A half-hearted attempt earlier this year to create a new blog and messaging platform, called From the Desk of Donald Trump, was scuttled in June after one month when Trump realized no one was reading it. Trump also refused to get in bed with former advisor Jason Miller and his new Twitter imitator Gettr. Gettr currently has about 400,000 daily users, where Twitter says it has a monetizable daily user base of 211 million.
Will Truth Social have it any easier, and really, how many ardent Trumpists who also love to tweet still have time to be on all these platforms where no one will ban them for saying racist stuff or plotting insurrections?
But Nunes clearly has wanted a paid role in Trump's orbit for some time, and that's where he's landed after being one of the most vocal Republican bulldogs fighting Trump's two impeachments.
"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, per the Associated Press. "The United States of America made the dream of the Internet a reality and it will be an American company that restores the dream."
In a note to constituents, Nunes said, "Recently, I was presented with a new opportunity to fight for the most important issues I believe in." And Trump issued a statement about the hire, saying, "Devin understands that we must stop the liberal media and big tech from destroying the freedoms that make America great."
Nunes's employment at the Trump group begins in January, at which point there might be a special election to fill his seat.
Anyway, this is all doomed to fail and will be about as hilarious to watch as Nunes's lawsuit against Twitter and several parody accounts that were mocking him, which he lost last year.
Much was made of the fact that Nunes had, in essence, provided a perfect example of the Streisand Effect, in which the stink he made over the Twitter accounts' mockery of him brought way more attention to it than the original accounts did — including media coverage of jokes about him being voted "Most Likely to Commit Treason" in high school, and a cartoon image of Nunes in a sexual act with Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Shortly after losing that suit, in June 2020, Nunes hopped on to Twitter in a sad attempt to mock Twitter itself, writing in all caps, "IS THIS MYSPACE? NO ONE IS RESPONDING TO MY TWEETS!!! IS EVERYONE AT PARLER ???"
Parler, by the way, claimed to have 15 million active users back in January 2021. But public data from Sensor Tower showed that app downloads for Parler dropped from 517,000 in December 2020 to 11,000 in June 2021, and no verifiable daily active user data is available. Also, a lot of their active users these days are in Brazil.
Top image: An abandoned trailer is adorned with a Congressman Devin Nunes billboard as viewed on July 8, 2021, thirty minutes east of Fresno, California. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)