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Republican Justin Amash Faces Party Scorn After Trump Impeachment Comments

Congressman Justin Amash in 2018 (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Congressman Justin Amash in 2018 (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

“Never a fan of @justinamash, a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy.”

Rep. Justin Amash became the first Republican congressman to refer to President Trump’s conduct as “impeachable” on Saturday, earning himself fierce backlash from fellow GOP lawmakers. The congressman clarified his reasoning in a series of tweets Monday:

“Here are my principal conclusions: 1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report. 2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. 3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances. 4. Few members of Congress have read the report,” the Michigan Republican tweeted.

Amash’s Comments Denounced Within Republican Party

Since publishing the tweets, the DeVos family cut financial support for Amash and a pro-Trump conservative announced a primary challenge in his district. Within the party, Amash’s comments were unanimously denounced by his own House Freedom Caucus, while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy dismissed the contrarian representative as “just looking for attention.”

“Never a fan of @justinamash, a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy,” President Trump wrote.

Amash, a staunchly independent libertarian Republican, has clashed with the President before. He refused to endorse him in 2016 and was the only Republican to sign a Democratic bill that would have stopped the President from declaring a national emergency over border wall funding earlier this year. Amash has also criticized Republicans who did not read the Mueller report because “their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation,” and for what he views as the party’s intentional erosion of the system of checks and balances.

Amash Unshaken Amid Republican Criticism

While Amash’s situation is evidence of the harsh consequences Republicans face for criticizing Trump, the Michigan congressman seems unshaken. He referred to his district challengers as “not serious,” doubled down on his position against President Trump, and said “I don’t have a reaction,” when asked about the DeVos family withdrawing their financial support.

The DeVos family gave Amash $65,000 in 2014 and $24,000 in 2018, making their withdrawal a damaging loss for the 39-year-old libertarian lawmaker.

“Family members have expressed increasing concerns about a lack of representation for their district, the Third Congressional, and I would say an inability to advance efforts connected to important policy matters,” the DeVos’ family spokesperson told the Detroit News. The spokesperson affirmed that Amash’s recent comments “have not changed the family’s thinking regarding its intent to not provide future support.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was among the most strident Republican leaders criticizing Amash, telling Fox News:

“You’ve got to understand Justin Amash. He’s been in Congress quite some time. I think he’s asked one question in all the committees that he’s been in. He votes more with Nancy Pelosi than he ever votes with me. It’s a question whether he’s even in our Republican conference as a whole. What he wants is attention in this process. He’s not a criminal attorney. He’s never met Mueller. He’s never met Barr. It’s very disturbing … He never supported the president, and I think he’s just looking for attention.”

Amash’s record contradicts several of McCarthy’s claims, as his staunch conservatism has earned him an 88 percent score from the American Conservative Union and he is an active participant in several committees. McCarthy’s claim about “looking for attention” may hold some weight, however, as the Michigan lawmaker is considering a 2020 presidential run against Trump as an independent.

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Peter Castagno

Peter Castagno is a freelance writer with a Master’s degree in International Conflict Resolution. He has traveled throughout the Middle East and Latin America to gain firsthand insight in some of the world’s most troubled areas, and he plans on publishing his first book in 2019.

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