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Published: Thursday, July 04, 2019 @ 9:24 AM
— Publicly ostracized by his GOP colleagues and party leaders in Congress for endorsing impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) announced on July Fourth that he was leaving the Republican Party, and would become an Independent in the U.S. House.
"Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party," Amash wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post, saying the current political system is in a 'death spiral.'
"I’m asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system — and to work toward it," Amash wrote. "If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it."
“Most Americans are not rigidly partisan and do not feel well represented by either of the two major parties,” Amash added.
President Trump responded to the news with a celebratory tweet, calling Amash 'one of the dumbest & most disloyal men in Congress.'
"A total loser!" Mr. Trump tweeted as he headed out for a round of golf on Thursday.
Amash does not say in his Post op-ed whether he will run for re-election as a candidate without party affiliation. Historically such candidates are cannon fodder in Michigan with straight ticket voting but Amash would be a unique case. How such a race would shake out, who knows. https://t.co/FHY4GgsVJJ— Zach Gorchow (@ZachGorchow) July 4, 2019
Great news for the Republican Party as one of the dumbest & most disloyal men in Congress is “quitting” the Party. 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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2019
The reception to Amash's move brought a bitter rebuke from Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC).
Amash would be the first House member to leave one of the two parties and become an Independent since Rep. Virgil Goode switched from the Democratic Party in 2000. He later moved over to the Republican Party.
The last Independent in the House was Bernie Sanders, who served for 16 years before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006.
Amash got into hot water with his own party by publicly breaking with the GOP over the Mueller Report, accusing Attorney General William Barr of wrongly characterizing the findings of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and then calling for impeachment proceedings against the President.
Here are my principal conclusions:— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019
1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.
2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
4. Few members of Congress have read the report.
In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings.— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019
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.— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019
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.— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019
"In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings," Amash tweeted in mid-May.
In that same tweet, Amash complained that "Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances."
Amash has already drawn Republican primary opponents in his Michigan district, but he told an NPR reporter in Michigan today that he would run for re-election as an Independent.
I'll have you know, dear listeners, I very rudely chased @justinamash into the street at the Hollyhock Lane parade to ask about the op-ed in the @washingtonpost— dustindwyer (@dustindwyer) July 4, 2019
He says he's still running in #MI03, but as an independent.
"I've been thinking about it for a while," Amash says.
Crystal Ball House ratings change: MI-3, held by newly-minted independent Justin Amash, goes from Likely R to Toss-up. This one is fluid, though. If he runs, expect a three-way race that'd be hard to predict. If he doesn't, open seat in Trump +9.5 district prolly Leans R— Kyle Kondik (@kkondik) July 4, 2019