House Democrat Denny Heck (D-Wa.) announced he was retiring on Wednesday, and he had some harsh words for his Republican colleagues on the way out.
Heck has served four terms in Congress and is on the House Intelligence Committee that investigated Russian interference and launched the Trump impeachment inquiry. In a Medium post announcing his decision, Heck said he was “discouraged” by the current state of politics.
“The countless hours I have spent in the investigation of Russian election interference and the impeachment inquiry have rendered my soul weary,” he wrote. “I will never understand how some of my colleagues, in many ways good people, could ignore or deny the President’s unrelenting attack on a free press, his vicious character assassination of anyone who disagreed with him, and his demonstrably very distant relationship with the truth.”
Rep. Denny Heck (D., Wash.) says he plans to retire from Congress after four terms to spend more time with his family, less time in partisan conflict https://t.co/KvgfIxZvoT— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) December 4, 2019
Heck went on to note that Trump is more of a “symptom” than the cause of the issues in America. He noted that “civic discourse began degrading before him” and “success seems to be measured by how many Twitter followers one has which are largely gained by saying increasingly outrageous things.”
Still, Heck managed to strike a note of thankfulness in his announcement. He said he felt “bone-deep” gratitude for his time in Congress and for voters who kept him in office. When 2020 rolls around, he will join 18 Republican representatives and five Democratic representatives who have said they plan to step down.
“I make this decision completely confident that there will be outstanding people step forward to take up the challenge to represent this beautiful corner of our great land,” Heck said.