In the clearest sign yet that Republicans are in no mood to put up with conservatives who wander off the reservation, the House Freedom Caucus voted Monday to officially condemn Rep. Justin Amash for his remarks on impeaching President Donald Trump. The remarks, which Amash made on Twitter, drew near-universal scorn from the Republican Party and other conservatives who accused the Michigan congressman of drinking too much liberal Kool-Aid.
“We had a good discussion and every single member, I think now based on who was there and our board meeting was probably over 30 members, every single member disagrees and strongly with the position Justin took over the week, and we’re focused on the now,” said Rep. Jim Jordan. “I mean, look, we’re focused on the fact that what the FBI did was wrong. We think that [Attorney General William] Barr’s handled himself exactly the way the American people want the Attorney General to handle themselves, and he’s going to get to bottom of all this.”
What makes this interesting, of course, is that Amash is not only a member of the House Freedom Caucus but he also had a hand in its founding. Long known as one of the most libertarian-oriented Republicans in Congress, Amash has split with the rest of the conference in his frequent criticism of President Trump. His fellow lawmakers have taken that criticism in stride, but Amash’s determination that Trump had committed impeachable offenses was a bridge too far.
“What concerns me is Justin was viewed as a leader on protecting privacy rights to First Amendment rights,” Jordan continued. “We had a press conference like a year ago with Rand Paul, Sen. [Ron] Wyden all on concerns about civil liberties and how the FISA court operates and what can happen in this whole, you know, this whole area, and now Justin’s, on the other side and I just don’t understand that.”
In his own remarks. Rep. Warren Davidson indicated that relations between Amash and the Caucus had already been strained. Telling reporters that “they consider him a friend,” Davidson noted that Amash had missed most of this year’s Freedom Caucus meetings.
“You look at it, no one’s been a stronger voice on the potential abuses of FISA than Amash. I mean, he’s a passionate guy on it. So a lot of us agreed, and I remember we were all at a big press conference right before the reauth of FISA which was right before all this stuff came out about all this stuff with Trump,” he said. “So to look at that and see him take the position he is, I mean, it’s shocking. And then I had no conversations with him about it. And I think that was another thing he just didn’t really talk to the group about it.”
It’s sad to see a pretty damn fine Republican like Amash lose his way like this. God only knows what he’s thinking. Maybe he’s been spending too many nights on the phone with Jeff Flake. Hopefully, he’ll come to his senses before he winds up tanking his whole political career.