Only a few weeks after becoming one of the only Republicans in Congress to call for President Trump’s impeachment, libertarian Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) has decided to leave the House Freedom Caucus that he had a hand in creating.
“I have the highest regard for them and they’re my close friends,” he told CNN. “I didn’t want to be a further distraction for the group.”
Unlike most Republican critics of Trump, there’s no way to dismiss Amash as a RINO or someone looking to make inroads with the liberals. But even though the Michigan lawmaker has little to prove about his commitment to the Constitution, his interpretation of the witch hunt against Trump was and remains way off the mark. His tweets on May 18 left his colleagues with no choice but to distance themselves from him.
“Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report,” Amash wrote last month. “President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances. Few members of Congress have read the report.”
The backlash was immediate. Fellow Freedom Caucus member Jim Jordan reportedly ran Amash on the phone and demanded to know: “What are you doing?” In an interview with Fox News, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was beside himself. “It’s a question whether he’s even in our Republican conference as a whole. He never supported the President, and I think he’s just looking for attention.”
Attention he got, naturally, as the media rallied to promote this lone, brave Republican willing to buy into their narrative and support impeachment articles against Trump. If Amash’s point was to raise his own profile and set himself up for an independent bid at the White House in 2020, we suppose he managed to do just that. Can’t see how such a bid would end in anything other than complete failure, but we’re sure it gets the NeverTrump crowd excited. What are there, six of them left? It’s going to be a hell of a concession party.
As for Amash’s home district, Republican voters are not happy.
“You talk about the Constitution and how important that is, but yet nothing that Mueller came out within this report, nothing that has been said about him and President Trump is constitutional — it’s been a smear tactic, because that’s how the Democrats work,” an irate voter told Amash at a Grand Rapids town hall event. “How can you become a Democrat when we voted for you as a Republican? Because you’ve just drank the same Kool-Aid as all the Democrats.”
Why you would want to tank your political career for the sake of joining the Democrats on this tasteless crusade against Trump is beyond us, but we assume Amash has his reasons. Whether they make any sense or not remains to be seen.