When Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., became the 13th House Republican to announce his retirement Friday, he wrote on Facebook that "the reality is after representing more than 44 counties over the past 23 years, I'm just tired."
Shimkus, 61, was being about as upfront as a retiring congressman usually gets about retirement. The standard lines from exiting lawmakers is "I want to spend more time with my family," that they have spent long enough in public service, and it was time to move on.
But with the recent exits, 13 House members -- with the exception Reps. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., who is leaving for family-related reasons and Shimkus -- there is a growing feeling among pundits who spoke to Newsmax that many of the 11 other GOP representatives chose to leave because they are weary of defending President Donald Trump.
Whether the issue is the present trade war with China or the president's more controversial statements on disparate issues, these experts believe there is a growing belief among Republicans that it is not just not worth it to run in 2020.
"Republican congressmen are weary of defending Trump and being in the minority," Dan Eberhart, a major GOP contributor, told Newsmax flatly.
Eberhardt's view was strongly seconded by Henry Olsen, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and The Washington Post columnist.
"They see Trump losing in 2020, and so they don't want to serve in either a legislative minority or an ineffective majority for another four plus years," Olsen told us.
Prof. G. Terry Madonna, considered the premier pollster in Pennsylvania, said "certainly, the controversial presidency of Donald Trump has to factor into the decisions [by Republican House Members] to retire as well."
Madonna added "in some cases running a tough re-election campaign can't be excluded as a reason as well, although some of the retirements have come in safe Republican districts."
Mark Salter, best-selling author and longtime adviser to the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had a slightly different take on the retirements.
"The prospects for Republicians retaking the House are poor and the influence of a member of the House minority is negligible," Salter told Newsmax. "I imagine some of the retirees, especially veteran congressmen such as Shimkus, must think, 'why bother?'"
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.