I said before that Donald Trump's reaction to GOP Rep. Justin Amash's call for his impeachment would tell the tale, and that if Trump ignored Amash, it was all for show. Turns out Trump is not only refusing to ignore Amash, but he's made the Michigan congressman's primary defeat the centerpiece of his Michigan 2020 campaign.
Donald Trump and his top allies are moving to make Justin Amash pay for becoming the sole Republican congressman to call for the president’s impeachment.
Trump and his top advisers have discussed the prospect of backing a primary challenge to the Michigan lawmaker — a highly unusual move for a president against a member of his own party that would effectively amount to a warning shot to other Republicans thinking of crossing him. The conversations come as the billionaire DeVos family, which has deep ties to the administration and remains one of Michigan’s most powerful families, has announced it will cut off the congressman. That move could send a signal to other conservative donors deciding whether to invest in Amash.
Trump has raised the primary challenge idea with Vice President Mike Pence and North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, a close Trump ally who co-founded the conservative House Freedom Caucus with Amash. Trump has also addressed the subject with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, a former Michigan GOP leader who remains influential in the state.
Those who’ve spoken with the president say he’s made no firm decision about taking on Amash, who’s accused the president of engaging in “impeachable conduct” and left the door open to a third-party campaign for president. Trump, they point out, is mostly focused on his own reelection and often cools down after he has time to process a slight. There are also potential risks: Trying to unseat Amash could elevate him or turn him into a martyr.
Others in the president’s inner circle are skeptical that Amash, whose office did not respond to a request for comment, will even seek reelection.
Yet in some of the conversations, the president has been adamant that the White House take a forceful stand against the congressman. The deliberations underscore Trump’s penchant for exacting political retribution against those who’ve wronged him — something he executed with devastating precision against former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford.
White House spokespersons declined to comment, as did spokespersons for Pence and Meadows. McDaniel, who under party rules is prohibited from supporting primary candidates, declined to address her conversations with Trump but said in a statement that it’s “sad to see Congressman Amash parroting the Democrats’ talking points on Russia.”
“The only people still fixated on the Russia collusion hoax are political foes of President Trump hoping to defeat him in 2020 by any desperate means possible,” she said. “Voters in Amash’s district strongly support this president and would rather their congressman work to support the president's policies that have brought jobs, increased wages and made life better for Americans."
Trump has no choice but to crucify Amash, potential martyrdom or otherwise. And I doubt Amash will be a martyr, he'll just have his political career utterly exterminated. Like it or not, without fundraising support, he'll be buried. The larger point is without being utterly obliterated, Trump will face more Republicans turning on him. Amash has to be staked out for the vultures or the next Republican to decide to bail on the Trump train will take a lot more with them.
No, it has to end here. Expect to see more Republicans close ranks around Dear Leader this month.
Amash's Democratic opponent is who we need to be cheering on.