Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) might just be the loneliest Republican in Congress.
Already taking heat from his Republican colleagues for his outspoken stance on impeachment, Amash stepped down from the conservative House Freedom Caucus on Monday.
“I have the highest regard for them and they’re my close friends,” Amash told CNN after the group’s Monday night meeting. “I didn’t want to be a further distraction for the group.”
Amash, with a record as one of the most conservative members in Congress, was once a natural fit among the group of hard-line Republicans who often played the role of a thorn in the side of their own party’s leadership. The group is largely credited for ousting former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio).
But the current political era seems to have shifted the caucus away from their traditional staunch conservativism and towards near total support for President Donald Trump, leaving a member who is viewed as an ardent constitutional conservative on the outside looking in.
Amash made headlines in May when he became the first — and so far, the only — elected Republican to say Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
Predictably, Amash’s comments put him at odds with the White House and Republican leadership on Capitol Hill. Trump lashed out at the lawmaker on Twitter, calling him a “total lightweight” and a “loser.” Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) painted Amash’s comments on impeachment as a cry for attention. “I think Justin is wrong and so does every member of the Freedom Caucus we talked to,” Rep. Jordan, the vice chair of the Freedom Caucus, said in May.
But despite finding himself at odds with nearly the entire Republican Party, Amash doesn’t seem to be backing down from his position. In a recent Twitter thread, Amash reiterated his belief that the Mueller report is damaging for Trump and accused the president’s allies of working to “excuse Trump’s efforts to obstruct the entire investigation into Russian election interference by alleging problems with elements of it and claiming, without basis, that they undermine Mueller’s obstruction analysis.”