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

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Biden VP possible next week; Meadows says relief talks 'miles apart' Hillicon Valley: House panel grills tech CEOs during much anticipated antitrust hearing | TikTok to make code public as it pushes back against 'misinformation' | House Intel panel expands access to foreign disinformation evidence Five takeaways as panel grills tech CEOs MORE (R-Fla.), one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE’s top allies in the House, said if Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashAmash confirms he won't seek reelection Democrats fear US already lost COVID-19 battle Michigan candidate's daughter urges people not to vote for him in viral tweet 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 PelosiHillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video Trump says he's considering executive action to suspend evictions, payroll tax Trump won't say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread 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 McCarthyDon't let Trump distract us from the real threat of his presidency Overnight Health Care: Five takeaways from Fauci's testimony | CDC: Children might play 'important role' in spreading COVID-19 | GOP leader wants rapid testing at Capitol GOP leader wants to make rapid testing available at Capitol 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 ClintonTrump vows challenge to Nevada bill expanding mail-in voting Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Juan Williams: The Trump Show grows tired MORE by 10,704 votes. He was the first Republican to win the traditionally blue state since 1988.