Justin Amash Leaves Freedom Caucus to Avoid Being a ‘Distraction’

Representative Justin Amash (R, Mich.) arrives for a House Oversight Committee Hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 22, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Representative Justin Amash (R., Mich.) announced Monday night that he was stepping down from the House Freedom Caucus to avoid becoming a “further distraction” to the group amid the ongoing flurry of national media attention prompted by his call for President Trump’s impeachment.

Amash, who co-founded the Freedom Caucus in 2015, told CNN that he has “the highest regard for them, and they’re my close friends,” but he “didn’t want to be a further distraction for the group.”

In keeping with his reputation as a gadfly willing to buck party leadership, Amash became the first Republican to publicly call for Trump’s impeachment following the release of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report. In a lengthy Twitter thread, Amash argued that Trump’s attempts to obstruct Mueller’s investigation were a betrayal of the public trust and, as such, constituted grounds for impeachment.

Amash is now facing two Trump-allied 2020 primary challengers in Michigan and lacks support among party leadership and founding members of the Freedom Caucus. He was, however, greeted warmly during his first trip home to his district after denouncing the president, laying out his rationale for breaking with his party during a two-hour town hall before a packed auditorium in Grand Rapids.

The 39-year-old lawmaker also refused to rule out the possibility of running for president on the Libertarian ticket in 2020 during the town hall.

“I’ve said many times, I don’t rule things like that out,” Amash said. “If you’re fighting to defend the Constitution, if you find a way to do that that’s different and maybe more effective, then you have to think about that.”

Most Popular


In Defense of Coleman Hughes

Picture the scene: A young man walks into a congressional hearing to offer witness testimony. His grandfather was barbarically brutalized by people who are now long dead. The nation in which he resides built its wealth of his grandfather’s brutalization. The question: Should his fellow citizens pay the young ... Read More
Film & TV

Toy Story 4: A National Anthem

The Toy Story franchise is the closest thing we have to an undisputed national anthem, a popular belief that celebrates what we think we all stand for — cooperation, ingenuity, and simple values, such as perpetual hope. This fact of our infantile, desensitized culture became apparent back in 2010 when I took a ... Read More

College Leaders Should Learn from Oberlin

Thanks to their social-justice warrior mindset, the leaders of Oberlin College have caused an Ohio jury to hit it with $44 million in compensatory and punitive damages in a case where the school couldn't resist the urge to side with its “woke” students against a local business. College leaders should learn ... Read More

Joe and the Segs

Joe Biden has stepped in it, good and deep. Biden, if he has any hope of ever being elected president, will be dependent on residual goodwill among African Americans from his time as Barack Obama’s loyal and deferential vice president — so deferential, in fact, that he stood aside for Herself in 2016 even ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Madcap Caution of Donald Trump

The worry last week was that the Trump administration was ginning up fake intelligence about Iran blowing up oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz to justify a war against Iran. Then, this week, President Donald Trump said the Iranian attacks weren’t a big deal. The episode is another indication of the ... Read More
Film & TV

Fosse/Verdon and the Dismal #MeToo Obsession

In the final episode of Fosse/Verdon, one of the two titular characters, Bob Fosse, is shooting one of the greatest films of all time. The other, Gwen Verdon, is having a quarrel with her unspeakably dull boyfriend about whether he approves of her performing in a road-show production of a Broadway musical. These ... Read More