Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashHouse sends Trump border aid bill after Pelosi caves to pressure from moderates GOP scores procedural win by securing more funding to enforce Iran sanctions Amash: Public views on impeachment ‘will really depend’ on what Mueller says MORE (R-Mich.) on Thursday announced he’s leaving the Republican Party and becoming an independent, months after igniting a political firestorm when he became the first sitting GOP congressman to call for an impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump appears to contradict officials, calls reports on 2020 census ‘fake’ Fox’s July 4 coverage to highlight charity for families of wounded, fallen service members Why Kim gets Trump’s love and Khamenei doesn’t MORE.
“Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party,” Amash wrote in a Fourth of July op-ed for the Washington Post. “No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us. I’m asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system — and to work toward it. If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it.”
The libertarian congressman, who said he’s become “disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it,” argued that “the two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions.”
Amash has fueled speculation in recent weeks that he’s planning to mount a third-party challenge to Trump, whom the Michigan lawmaker has repeatedly criticized in the wake of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have ‘no choice’ but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE‘s report on 2016 election interference.
The Michigan lawmaker drew backlash from members of his own party in May when he called for an impeachment inquiry against the president, pointing to “underlying crimes” committed by Trump that were revealed by the Mueller report. He subsequently left the conservative House Freedom Caucus, of which he was a founding member, and gained a pro-Trump primary challenger in Michigan.
Trump loyalists have also honed in on him, with Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpMeghan McCain blasts Trump Jr. for retweeting ‘disgusting’ and ‘racist’ post about Kamala Harris Castro slams Trump Jr. as ‘coward’ for giving voice to questions about Harris’s racial heritage Harris campaign denounces far-right conspiracy theories about her race MORE suggesting in June he might campaign in Michigan alongside Amash’s primary opponent. And Trump himself called Amash a “loser” and reportedly considered openly endorsing another Republican for the lawmaker’s seat. Meanwhile, a poll in June showed Amash trailing his little-known challenger Jim Lowe by 16 points.
Despite mounting pressure from fellow Republicans, Amash has remained steadfast in his position, arguing in an interview with Vox on Wednesday that the GOP is moving “toward a sense of victimization.”
In an interview with The Hill in June, Amash insisted he had no interest in playing “spoiler” in the 2020 election, saying that if he runs, he intends to win.
Asked at the time if he had made a decision on a third-party presidential run, Amash said, “I haven’t ruled anything out.”