Trump foe Justin Amash leaves House Freedom Caucus under party pressure

June 11, 2019

After turning against his party, Republican Rep. Justin Amash is leaving the prominent House Freedom Caucus. 

Amash’s exile comes after he became the first Republican to back possible impeachment of Donald Trump in May. Republicans balked at Amash’s virtue signaling, and the Republican suffered a falling out with the House Freedom Caucus, the Republican party and President Trump himself, who called him a “loser.”

Formed in 2015, the House Freedom Caucus is known for taking a hardline stance on immigration. Prominent members of the caucus, including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mark Meadows (R-NC), are fierce allies of the president.

“Voluntary” departure

Amash said Monday that he left the House Freedom Caucus voluntarily over a disagreement with caucus chairman Meadows and other members. The congressman from Michigan said he did not want to be a “further distraction” for the group. Jordan told Fox’s Laura Ingraham Monday that the decision was mutual and that the caucus still respects Amash, but “sharp” differences made the separation inevitable.

The House Freedom Caucus voted to condemn Amash last month, but declined to force him out of the conservative group. It is the group’s position that Trump did not collude with Russia and did not obstruct Robert Mueller’s investigation, as shown by Mueller’s investigation, which failed to bring forth indictments for either charge. The group began to consider booting Amash after he made his impeachment comments without warning the group.

“They called a special board meeting last Tuesday to continue discussing next steps, including removal. Amash was in attendance (at one point he was asked to step out of the room),” a source told The Hill.

Amash won the good graces of the left last month when he said that the Mueller report showed evidence of “impeachable conduct” by Trump. In a series of tweets, the Republican laid out a case for impeaching Trump, also claiming that Attorney General William Barr misled the American people on Mueller’s findings.

Trump blasted Amash as a “loser” at the time,” as criticism poured in from Amash’s party for endorsing an expired Democrat conspiracy theory. Amash’s virtue signaling also won him a primary challenge from a Trump-aligned candidate in the Republican’s Grand Rapids district. Undeterred, Amash doubled down on his impeachment call. 

“People who say there were no underlying crimes and therefore the president could not have intended to illegally obstruct the investigation — and therefore cannot be impeached — are resting their argument on several falsehoods,” Amash tweeted.

Never Trumper loses party’s support

Amash was heckled by constituents at a recent town hall, who accused the Republican of “grandstanding” and seeking attention. One constituent blasted Amash for drinking the Democrats’ “Kool-Aid” with his support of the collusion-obstruction conspiracy theory.

“How can you become a Democrat when we voted for you as a Republican?” the Trump supporter said. “Because you’ve just drank the same Kool-Aid as all the Democrats.”

A prominent libertarian, Amash was one of the founding members of the House Freedom Caucus. But the Republican has become known for taking contrarian stances. The libertarian-minded Amash has gone down the path of “principled” Never Trumpers like Bill Kristol, who oppose the president, ironically helping the Democrats undermine the rule of law and perpetuate open borders in the process, all in the name of higher principles.

Like Kristol and similarly “principled” conservatives who ally with the left, Amash has opposed Trump in the name of the Constitution and the rule of law. The Republican was among those who opposed Trump’s national emergency declaration to build the wall, which he declared unconstitutional.

“A national emergency declaration for a non-emergency is void. A prerequisite for declaring an emergency is that the situation requires immediate action and Congress does not have an opportunity to act. @POTUS @realDonaldTrump is attempting to circumvent our constitutional system.”

While losing the support of his party, Amash has won over Democrats including Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) of “impeach the mother******” fame, who called on Amash to co-sponsor an impeachment resolution.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.