Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, the first Republican lawmaker to call for Donald Trump’s impeachment, has abandoned the Republican Party.
Amash, a libertarian, announced on the Fourth of July that he is leaving the Party of Trump in an Op-Ed published in The Washington Post, because he’s “become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it.”
In his Op-Ed, Amash cited George Washington’s fears of partisanship becoming the people’s “worst enemy.”
“True to Washington’s fears, Americans have allowed government officials, under assertions of expediency and party unity, to ignore the most basic tenets of our constitutional order: separation of powers, federalism and the rule of law. The result has been the consolidation of political power and the near disintegration of representative democracy,” Amash wrote.
He added: “In this hyperpartisan environment, congressional leaders use every tool to compel party members to stick with the team, dangling chairmanships, committee assignments, bill sponsorships, endorsements and campaign resources. As donors recognize the growing power of party leaders, they supply these officials with ever-increasing funds, which, in turn, further tightens their grip on power.”
Amash said Americans could “do better” than the country’s current two-party political system. “Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party. No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us,” he wrote.
Although Amash didn’t mention Trump by name, it didn’t take long for the president to lash out at the Michigan lawmaker on Twitter, calling Amash’s decision “Great news.”
“Great news for the Republican Party as one of the dumbest & most disloyal men in Congress is ‘quitting’ the Party,” Trump tweeted. “No Collusion, No Obstruction! Knew he couldn’t get the nomination to run again in the Great State of Michigan. Already being challenged for his seat. A total loser!”
Last May, Amash, who co-founded the House Freedom Caucus, outlined his reasoning on Twitter as to why Trump should be impeached, becoming the first and only Republican to date to argue for the president’s impeachment. He also criticized Attorney General William Barr, whom Amash accused of misleading the public about the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“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 wrote at the time. “In fact, 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.”
Trump responded to that Twitter thread by calling Amash a “total lightweight” and a “loser.”
After calling out Trump for his “impeachable conduct,” Amash faced a backlash from Republican lawmakers and donors. Michigan state Rep. Jim Lower announced he would take on Amash in the Republican primary next year. And Michigan’s wealthy DeVos family said it had cut off funding to Amash, a five-term lawmaker.