President Donald Trump and his top advisers are considering the unusual move of backing a primary challenger to Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) after the representative’s repeated calls for impeachment, Politico reported Wednesday.
According to the report, the president is considering squashing Amash by choosing to support one of his primary challengers, such as state Rep. Jim Lower (R-Mich.), in a move that could be seen as a line being drawn in the sand by the administration.
Amash is the only Republican thus far to call for the impeachment of the president.
The president has discussed the idea with his number two, Vice President Mike Pence, as well as one of his top allies in the House, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Amash recently left the House Freedom Caucus, which he helped start with Meadows. McDaniel was a leader in the Michigan Republican circle prior to becoming the chairwoman for the national party and still holds influence in the state.
However, the move to punish Amash through a primary runs the risk of turning Amash into a political martyr for lawmakers who are not too enthralled with Trump or even putting him further into the national spotlight as a potential third-party contender for the presidency.
Neither the White House, the office of the vice president, nor Meadows’ team responded to Politico for comment on the considered move. McDaniel — while unable to weigh in on primary challenges due to party policy — said voters in Amash’s district “strongly support this president and would rather” he fall behind Trump’s policies.
“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. 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.”
Amash has not announced a run for the White House on a third-party ticket but did not rule it out either. While Trump has not made a final decision on whether or not he will back a primary challenge to the Michigan Republican, he has been determined to have his administration take a hard stance against Amash.
The plan’s consideration came as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ family — who are prominent in Michigan Republican politics — announced they had “no plans” to further fund Amash in his electoral ambitions.
Some Republicans in the state have taken issue with Amash’s calls for impeachment. For example, IJR Red had the opportunity to talk with Michigan Trump Republicans co-founder Diane Schindlbeck, whose organization will be holding a “Squash Amash” rally later this week.
Schindlbeck said the reason for holding the rally is because the group has “had enough” of Amash’s attacks on the president, they feel like they “had to do something” after the Michigan Republican’s calls for the impeachment.