Congressman Justin Amash (I-MI) has announced that he will not be seeking re-election to the House, the Washington Examiner reports. Instead, the former Republican has his eyes on a more prominent role.
In an interview with Reason magazine, Amash said his attention is now on his presidential bid, the Examiner reported. According to Reason, the five-term congressman is vying “for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, which will be decided in late May.”
Running for president
Amash made headlines last year when he left the Republican Party, citing “impeachable conduct” by the president following the release of then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on alleged Trump–Russia collusion, NBC News reported at the time. According to the Examiner, the 40-year-old congressman is now set to formally register with the House clerk as a Libertarian, making him the party’s first congressional representative in U.S. history.
But he won’t be there for long. Speaking with Reason, Amash, whose current term ends in January, said his re-election “campaign is paused.”
“Frankly, I’m running this campaign for president, and I don’t intend to return to my congressional campaign,” Amash told Reason Tuesday, according to the Examiner. “It’s been an honor to represent the 3rd District, and that was one of the hardest parts of this decision.”
According to Reason, Amash thinks this year could be the Libertarian Party’s year to clinch the Oval Office.
“When I look at these candidates, I think most Americans see the same thing I’m seeing, which is these two candidates aren’t up to being president of the United States, and we need an alternative,” he told the magazine.
Amash went on: “Millions of Americans are seeing that the government spent trillions of dollars and still didn’t get it right. They didn’t get help to the people who need it most. Instead, most of the assistance went to people who have great connections, who run big corporations.”
A feud with Trump
Since leaving the Republican Party last year, Amash has, predictably, maintained a feud with the president. He left the GOP after becoming the only member of the Republican Caucus to call for Trump’s impeachment in light of Mueller’s report, which he characterized in May 2019 as “[describing] a consistent effort by the president to use his office to obstruct or otherwise corruptly impede the Russian election interference investigation because it put his interests at risk.”
Trump, for his part, called Amash “a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy.”
During his time as a Republican, Amash was indeed known for taking positions at variance with most in his party. In 2011, he was one of nine members who voted against retaining “In God We Trust” as the national motto, according to Michigan’s MLive.com.