Top Trump ally says potential Amash presidential bid could be problematic in Michigan

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzHouse approves Democrat-backed bill ending mandatory arbitration Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing State probes of Google, Facebook to test century-old antitrust laws MORE (R-Fla.), one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE’s top allies in the House, said if Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashThe Hill's Morning Report - Pompeo condemns Iran for 'act of war' while Trump moves with caution Trump's 'soldier of fortune' foreign policy Amash: 'Bolton never should have been hired' MORE (R-Mich.) opts to run for president, it could have a negative impact on Trump’s ability to win the Great Lakes State in 2020. 

Amash — a staunch Trump critic and the sole Republican in the lower chamber to come out in favor of impeachment — previously said he hasn’t ruled out launching a third-party presidential bid. Gaetz said while he believes the potential bid could cause issues for the president in Michigan, he doesn’t see it being problematic in other states, noting Amash could potentially draw votes away from whomever ultimately become the Democratic nominee. 

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"I worry about the impact that an Amash candidacy has on Michigan. Beyond Michigan, I don't know that Justin would necessarily draw more votes from the Republican side than he would the Democrat side. I mean, remember, Justin's a guy who's been pretty consistently opposed to pro-Israel policy,” Gaetz told The Hill in an interview.  

“He has taken a lot of positions where he's the only Republican or one of the only Republicans voting with Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden blasts Trump, demands he release transcript of call with foreign leader Pelosi wants to change law to allow a sitting president to be indicted Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week MORE. So he may get some Democratic votes too. But within Michigan, where he has a brand within the Republican party, he could be a drain on the president.”

Gaetz said he believes, though Amash has not formally announced his decision, he will jump into the race despite Republicans urging him against it. Amash’s remarks on impeachment sparked strong pushback from other members of the Republican conference, with top members including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Lawmakers say Zuckerberg has agreed to 'cooperate' with antitrust probe MORE (R-Calif.) accusing the Michigan Republican of showboating and being "out of step with this conference" and "out of step with America." Members of the GOP have suggested the Michigan Republican will likely face a well-funded primary opponent for his congressional seat, something Gaetz suggested could factor into Amash’s decision to run.  

“I believe Justin Amash is in the race. I believe Justin Amash is running for president — I wish he wouldn't. I think Justin on a variety of issues, obviously, not impeachment, but on a variety of issues, is an important voice in the Congress. And I'll miss him on a lot of those votes and issues where a libertarian viewpoint is underrepresented in the Congress,” Gaetz continued. 

“But I think Justin sees the matching money for the Libertarian nominee, I think Justin sees a presidential field that he thinks is devoid of his unique voice and perspective. And I think Justin also knows that there's about the same likelihood that he's going to be reelected to the Congress that he's going to be elected President of the United States. So if you're going to lose, why not go big?”

Trump narrowly won Michigan in the 2016 election, beating Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMissing piece to the Ukraine puzzle: State Department's overture to Rudy Giuliani On The Money: Trump downplays urgency of China trade talks | Chinese negotiators cut US trip short in new setback | Trump sanctions Iran's national bank | Survey finds Pennsylvania, Wisconsin lost the most factory jobs in past year Meghan McCain, Ana Navarro get heated over whistleblower debate MORE by 10,704 votes. He was the first Republican to win the traditionally blue state since 1988.