After Backing Trump Impeachment, Amash Gets Primary Challenger

‘He must be replaced, and I am going to do it…’

Justin Amash photo

Justin Amash/Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC)

(Griffin Connolly, CQ-Roll Call) A pro-Trump Michigan state lawmaker has announced plans to run against NeverTrump Rep. Justin Amash in the Republican primary for Michigan’s 3rd District after Amash broke with his party to back impeaching President Donald Trump.

Amash, who was elected to the House in the 2010 GOP tea party wave and is a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, wrote in a Twitter thread on Sunday that he believes Trump has “engaged in impeachable conduct,” as outlined in the final report of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Amash did not spare Attorney General William Barr either, concluding that Barr “intended to mislead the public” about Mueller’s report and banking on the notion that most Americans would not read it for themselves.

“Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment,” Amash tweeted Sunday.

“Mueller’s report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence,” he wrote.

Two-term Michigan state Rep. Jim Lower announced Monday he intends to challenge Amash in the GOP primary, saying the congressman is “out of touch” with West Michiganders.

Lower had intended to announce his bid around July 4, but Amash’s Twitter thread Sunday explaining his reasoning for backing Trump’s impeachment prompted Lower to move up his timeline.

“Amash has not only failed to support President Trump as the president works to make the United States stronger and safer, he has now united with radical liberals like Democratic congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) to try and bring down our president,” Lower said in a statement.

“He must be replaced, and I am going to do it,” Lower said.

Last year, Amash had the second-lowest rate among Republicans of supporting Trump in House votes, backing the president’s position just 63% of the time, according to a CQ Roll Call analysis.

Trump took swipes at Amash on Sunday, calling him both a “total lightweight” and a “loser.”

“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,” the president tweeted.

“Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy dismissed Amash’s comments Sunday about impeaching Trump as the drivel of an attention-seeking Republican who, McCarthy incorrectly claimed, “votes more with (Democratic Speaker) Nancy Pelosi” than his own party.

“It’s a question whether he’s even in our Republican conference as a whole,” McCarthy claimed.

Data compiled by FiveThirtyEight.com found Amash voted with Trump and House Republicans on 91.7% of votes since McCarthy became the chamber’s GOP standard-bearer in January.

But in 2018, when Republicans still controlled the chamber, CQ Roll Call found he was the second most likely to oppose the Republican position on votes, after North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones, who died in February.

Amash voted “present” on Democratic measures to oppose Trump’s ban on transgender people entering the military and end the U.S. support of Saudi Arabia in its military campaign in Yemen.

He bucked the party again in February and March opposing Trump’s emergency declaration for border wall funding.

©2019 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.