In his first public meeting since making his claim that
President Donald Trump obstructed justice and committed impeachable acts, Rep.
Justin Amash (R-Mich.) received a warm welcome from his constituents. Attendees
at a town hall meeting in Grand Rapids gave the congressman what Politico called “a hero’s welcome” that included several standing ovations and lots of
praise, even from those who disagreed with him.
Amash had scheduled one hour for the town hall, but the
meeting lasted two hours. In that time, Amash defended his support for
impeachment, defended his record, and criticized the leaders of both parties,
including President Trump. Amash also explained that he is still a Republican
because it is difficult to get on the ballot as an independent candidate.
Most of the attendees seemed happy with Amash, with many
taking selfies with the congressman. There were exceptions, however. One woman
wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat said that she was disappointed in
Amash and could no longer support him, prompting boos from the audience. Amash
ultimately had to tell the crowd to be respectful.
Another woman, identified as Anna Timmer, told Amash, “I’ve
changed my position on you. You’ve spent the last two years failing to do your
job, which is to directly represent the popular will of your constituents.”
“That’s not my job … my job is to uphold the Constitution,”
“Those are not mutually exclusive,” Timmer replied.
Others in the audience were warmer toward Amash. One woman
told him, “I don’t agree with many of your stances, but I applaud your courage
and your morality that seems to be lacking in [Washington]. So thank you.” The
comment drew cheers from the crowd.
As a point of fact, Amash is one of the most conservative
members of Congress. Despite his libertarian leanings, he has an 87 percent
lifetime rating from the American
Conservative Union, a 90 percent from Conservative
Review, and a perfect 100 from Freedom Works.
His record of backing Trump is mixed per FiveThirtyEight.
He has voted with Trump 92 percent of the time in the 116th Congress
but only 54 percent of the time in the last Congress. He is a founding member
of the Freedom Caucus, a group that recently denounced him.
What angers the president’s supporters is that Amash has deviated
from the Republican line that Mueller’s report found “no collusion, no
obstruction.” Earlier this month, Amash publicly
announced that the conventional wisdom was wrong and that the president had
in fact committed impeachable acts.
In another tweetstorm yesterday, Amash charged that Attorney
General Barr “deliberately misrepresented key aspects of Mueller’s report and
decisions in the investigation, which has helped further the president’s false
narrative about the investigation.” In the subsequent tweets, Amash, who is a
lawyer, laid out a specific case against Barr.
Meanwhile, Amash has already drawn two primary challenges
from establishment Trump supporters. One, Jim Lower, a state representative, said
of Amash, “His conduct is completely unacceptable.”
Others, including Amash, say that it is the president’s
conduct that has been unacceptable. “It doesn’t matter to me that some people
won’t support me,” the congressman said. “You have to do the right thing
Amash also said, “A lot of people think I’m right about the
Mueller report. They just won’t say it. A lot of Republicans.”
His Republican primary race seems likely to become a
referendum on whether voters agree with his stance or not. If Rep. Amash wins
re-election after going toe-to-toe with the Trump and being opposed by a
self-described “pro-Trump” Republican, it could signal a very bad election year