Is There Any GOP Resistance To Trumpism? Well... There's Justin Amash
Recently Time or some other news magazine ran a photo of McCain on the cover as the face of the Resistance to Trump. What a joke! Trump-- like Lindsey, Flake, Rubio and Sasse-- are all talk and no action. With the exception of a purely symbolic McCain vote against Mick Mulvaney's nomination to be director of OMB (because he isn't as much as a warmonger as McCain would prefer), these "resisters," all voted to confirm every one of Trump's nominees to the Cabinet From Hell. These are the real resisters to Trumpism. And on the Republican side? Don't count on much, at least not yet.
Interestingly, some of the ears to the ground House members who were being recruited by the NRSC to run for Senate in 2018 have taken their names out of consideration. Top choices, Sean Duffy, Pat Meehan, Evan Jenkins and Susan Brooks aren't running against Tammy Baldwin (WI), Bob Casey (PA), Joe Manchin (WV) and Joe Donnelly (IN). Kevin Cramer looks like a no-go against Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Ann Wagner has been telling friends she's not going to run against Claire McCaskill (MO). Trump won each of those states. Here are the margins between him and Hillary:
• Wisconsin- 47.9% to 46.9%Trump won 51 of North Dakota's 53 counties. He beat Hillary in 109 of Missouri's 114 counties and in all 55 of West Virginia's counties. Even in Pennsylvania, where the vote was closer, Trump won 56 of the state's 67 counties. But the NRSC can't recruit any of their first choices. House members have their ears to the ground; they sense what's coming, the same way animals sense when an earthquake is about to hit.
• Pennsylvania- 48.8% to 47.6%
• West Virginia- 68.7% to 26.5%
• Indiana- 57.2% to 37.9%
• North Dakota- 64.1% to 27.8%
• Missouri- 57.1% to 38.0%
But, like I said, there's no real resistance to Trump coming from the Senate yet-- not on the level you find it coming out of Democratic senators, especially ones like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren (both of whom are also going to be facing their homestate voters in 2018). And while there are no Republicans in the House going on the attack the way, say Ted Lieu is doing, the Wall Street Journal has noticed the same thing we have-- namely that principled libertarian Justin Amash (R-MI) isn't playing nice-nice with Trump by any stretch of the imagination. Monday, under the headline Justin Amash Emerges As Leading Critics Of Fellow Republican Justin Amash, The Journal took note of his social media challenges and even taunts to Trump. Amash has even taken Ryan and McCarthy to task for being Trump enablers and suck-ups. "Lately, our leadership team seems to be going along with the president regardless of the situation. It’s possible that over time the leadership team will recognize that things are getting out of hand and will try to restrain the president."
Although he didn't do as well as Romney had, Trump managed to win Amash's district in November-- with 51.6%. Amash was reelected with 58.4%. Unlike many House Republicans, he's not afraid of Trump and his crackpot supporters and that was apparent in Natalie Andrews' Journal article. "President Donald Trump’s 'constant fear-mongering' about terrorism is 'irresponsible and dangerous.' He needs to 'stop attacking the legitimacy of the judiciary.' He picked an attorney general with 'anti-liberty' positions on surveillance and police seizure of property. Those tough assessments come not from one of the president’s critics in the Democratic Party, but from a conservative Republican House member whose district decisively backed Mr. Trump in the election. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan has emerged as one of the leading Republican critics of the president, using a tool Mr. Trump himself often employs-- an assertive presence on Twitter-- to challenge and even taunt the president. While other House Republicans who were skeptical of Mr. Trump during the presidential campaign have since toned down their criticism, Mr. Amash, who has 100,000 Twitter followers, has remained a vocal critic."
Mr. Amash says his opposition is based on principle, as a libertarian concerned about government overreach and adherence to the Constitution. While many Republican lawmakers hold similar beliefs, Mr. Amash has been an especially outspoken proponent of smaller government, even on issues-- such as reducing surveillance-- where his views put him out of step with the more mainstream elements of the GOP.
“To me, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a Republican in the White House or a Democrat in the White House. I have a duty to defend liberty, defend the rule of law and protect the rights of all of my constituents,” said Mr. Amash.
...Amash acknowledged that a president has wide latitude to ban refugees, though not green-card holders. But he called Mr. Trump’s ban on refugees from certain countries “harsh and unwise,’’ and said well-vetted refugees should be admitted.
When Mr. Trump attacked the federal judges who put his immigration order on hold, Mr. Amash counseled the president to “stop attacking the legitimacy of the judiciary.”
Mr. Trump has said his immigration policies are needed for national security and that judges are overstepping their role by hindering him.
The son of a Palestinian refugee father and a Syrian immigrant mother, Mr. Amash says his ideals come from a deep love of country instilled by his immigrant parents. When his father dropped him off at school every morning, he’d tell him he could do anything in the U.S. It’s with that perspective that he objects to the immigration ban.
“Most immigrants come here to make a better life, and they want to assimilate and be a part of our nation,” said Mr. Amash, who was born in Grand Rapids. “I think we need to remain a country that is welcoming to those immigrants. If my dad’s family didn’t have the generosity of Americans to bring him here, then I wouldn’t be sitting right here in Congress.”
Mr. Amash says he supports congressional investigations into alleged communications between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives, and on Friday requested an immediate briefing from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey and Michael Dempsey, the acting Director of National Intelligence. He posted the letter to Twitter.
There are now 4 House Republicans who have signed on to a bipartisan bill-- the Russian Sanctions Review Act-- to prevent Trump from unilaterally ending Russian sanctions without informing Congress-- Charlie Dent (PA), Adam Kinzinger (IL), Michael Turner (OH) and Tom Rooney (FL). A similar bill in the Senate is being co-sponsored by 3 Republicans-- Lindsey Graham (SC), John McCain (AZ) and Little Marco (FL) with Democrats.