Republican Michigan Rep. Justin Amash was recently lavished with praise by Democrats and the liberal media following several highly publicized tweet threads that called into question Attorney General William Barr’s summation of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and which strongly suggested Amash would support efforts to impeach President Donald Trump.
The remarks earned Amash a rebuke from the president and his base of voters and also provoked controversy among many of his fellow Republican members of Congress, particularly within the staunchly conservative and generally pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus, from which Amash has now resigned.
Rep. Amash announced on Monday that he would be voluntarily stepping aside from his membership in the House Freedom Caucus following a meeting with the group’s board.
Amash cited as the reason for his departure the desire to no longer be a “distraction” to the group’s other work in furtherance of the conservative agenda in Congress.
Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a prominent member of the caucus, confirmed to Fox News host Laura Ingraham that the decision for Amash to leave the Freedom Caucus was mutually reached between Amash and Republican North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus.
Jordan explained that there were no hard feelings involved, and all members still viewed Amash as a friend. However, in light of his stance against President Trump, there nevertheless remained some “sharp” and significant disagreements.
Reliable conservative…until now
Previously, Amash was actually considered to be one of the more conservative-leaning Republican members of the House of Representatives, most recently earning a score of 88 out of 100 from the American Conservative Union, which measures how legislators vote in terms of their alignment with conservative principles.
Amash’s score largely stemmed from his strong libertarian tendencies, which often led him to vote “No” on most legislation — whether proposed by Democrats or Republicans — as virtually all legislation tends to enlarge the federal government in some shape or form.
By way of comparison, fellow Freedom Caucus members Jordan and Meadows scored a 100 and 91, respectively, from the ACU in 2018, while Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earned a measly score of 4 from the organization.
It remains to be seen if there will be any substantial change in the way that Amash votes now that he has stepped aside from the conservative House Freedom Caucus and has adopted the stance, for all intents and purposes, of an unaffiliated independent member of Congress.
There have been rumors that Amash may mount an independent third-party presidential run in 2020 to challenge President Trump, but such an undertaking would be considered foolhardy at best, given the strength of Trump’s Republican base, the booming economy and other factors that align in favor of Trump’s re-election.
For now, Amash may want to focus his attention on making sure he didn’t alienate his own base of voters in Michigan with his rather unpopular — at least with Republicans — stance on the prospect of impeaching President Trump.