Rep. Justin Amash (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 Trump.
“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.”
Amash didn’t mention the President by name, but his decision to abandon the party comes after months of escalating criticism not just of the President but of his own colleagues for their failure to hold Trump to account, specifically for the actions detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the 2016 election and its aftermath.
In May, the five-term Michigan representative became the first sitting Republican lawmaker to join Democratic calls for an impeachment inquiry. He drew scorn from GOP leaders and Trump — Amash has “been a loser for a long time,” the President responded — when he wrote in a series of tweets that, after reading Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, he believed Attorney General William Barr intentionally misrepresented Mueller’s findings and Trump engaged in obstruction of justice.
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