It has been less than two months since Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) issued his controversial opinion that President Donald Trump had committed impeachable acts in his attempts to obstruct the Mueller investigation. Since then, no other Republicans have supported his position and his colleagues on the Freedom Caucus criticized his opposition to the president. Now Amash is leaving the Freedom Caucus that he helped to found in 2015.
CNN reports that Amash said in March that he had stopped attending Freedom Caucus meetings due to disagreement with other members over the direction of the country under President Trump. Other Freedom Caucus members unanimously opposed the call for impeachment from Amash, who has one of the most conservative voting recordsin Congress.
The group seems to have parted ways amicably. “I have the highest regard for them, and they’re my close friends,” Amash said. “I didn’t want to be a further distraction for the group.”
While Amash has been almost universally criticized by other Republican officials, his constituents seem happy with his stance. At a town hall in May, Amash received a standing ovation from voters and many expressed support for the congressman who says his job is to uphold the Constitution.
Other Republicans seem to focus on supporting the president. As Donald Trump repeats his tactic of using emergency declarations to bypass Congress and bending the law to use tariffs to pressure US trading partners, few Republicans, including those on the Freedom Caucus, have stood up against the abuses of presidential authority, much less Mr. Trump’s bad behavior with respect to the Russia investigation. Republicans who criticized Barack Obama’s abuses of executive authority have shown little interest in reining in President Trump.
There is speculation that Amash’s divorce from the Freedom Caucus is part of the groundwork for a run for president, possibly as a Libertarian. Amash himself has given no indication of this but has not ruled out a presidential run. Amash told the Detroit News last week that he plans to run for re-election to his congressional seat as a Republican.
Rep. Amash formally left the Freedom Caucus this week, but, in truth, the Freedom Caucus left Amash long ago. Like the Republican Party in general, the group’s principles now seem to reflect not what is constitutional, legal, ethical, and moral but what President Trump says.