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

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzMatt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' Matt Gaetz hints prosecutor won't press charges against threatening caller for political reasons Hillicon Valley: Twitter says Trump 'go back' tweet didn't violate rules | Unions back protests targeting Amazon 'Prime Day' | Mnuchin voices 'serious concerns' about Facebook crypto project | Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid MORE (R-Fla.), one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE’s top allies in the House, said if Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Trump doubles down, says progressive congresswomen 'should apologize to America' ESPN reminds employees to avoid political talk after host blasts Trump: report 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 PelosiDemocrats should rise above and unify against Trump's tweets 10 questions for Robert Mueller Ocasio-Cortez tears into Trump's immigration agenda: 'It's about ethnicity and racism' 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 McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants History in the House: Congress weathers unprecedented week EU official in Canada says he feels 'at home' there because no one was shouting 'send him back' 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 ClintonGeorge Takei: US has hit a new low under Trump Democrats slam Puerto Rico governor over 'shameful' comments, back protesters Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE by 10,704 votes. He was the first Republican to win the traditionally blue state since 1988.