Dent said he originally planned to announce his retirement at the event Sunday, but some of his colleagues leaked that he was planning on leaving Congress, the Reading Eagle reported.
“The county's in a pretty tough spot right now. It’s in a very difficult spot,” he told the crowd. “I think there’s a trend globally, which I won’t get into, but I think we are where we are,” he said.
Dent said eventually the difficulties that come with governing would have to be corrected.
“We go through these political realignments every so often. They affect both parties and I think both parties are in a pretty tough spot,” he said.
Dent was a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, saying during the 2016 campaign that he should withdraw from the race after the “Access Hollywood” tape of him making crass remarks about women was leaked in October 2016.
Dent was also one of only 20 Republicans who voted against the House Republican replacement of the 2010 health care law.
On Sunday, he also criticized growing trends of “nativism, isolationism, protectionism and at times, nihilism.”
“By the way those attributes, not good attributes, that I just mentioned, I would say they affect both political parties. This is not specifically one party,” Dent said. “But we have to work through them.”