Donald Trump and Justin Amash Plot Primary Challenges Against Each Other

Republican rivals. Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer. Photos: Getty Images

Donald Trump and Republican congressman Justin Amash don’t like each other very much, and now each is rooting for the other to lose his next election.

Amash, the only Republican in the House to call for Trump’s impeachment, is currently flirting with a run for president. It’s not clear how serious he is, but as he told The Hill on Wednesday, he’s not interested in running for the sake of it. “I have no interest in playing spoiler,” he said. “When I run for something, I run to win.”

Amash is highly unlikely to win a primary against an incumbent president who enjoys huge approval ratings within his own party. That means he’s not running, right? “I haven’t ruled anything out,” Amash told The Hill.

Amash could potentially run for president as a Libertarian, but that’s hardly a path to victory. Still, some Republicans are openly worrying about Amash launching a third-party bid. From The Hill:

Some Republicans acknowledged that an Amash candidacy could be enough to hand the White House to the Democratic nominee, be it former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or someone else.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) said a third-party bid by Amash “could

screw things up.”

“I respect Libertarians, I like them a lot. But it doesn’t take away from the Democrats. It will take away from the conservative viewpoint and that hurts our side,” LaMalfa said. “You guys want to elect Biden or Crazy Bernie, then that’s the way to do it.

Assuming Amash declines to seek the presidency, he might have his hands full back in Michigan’s Third District. The five-term congressman already has a primary challenger who is swinging hard in the opposite direction of the anti-Trump Amash. State Representative Jim Lower, a 30-year-old who says he’s previously voted for Amash, announced his intention to primary the congressman shortly after Amash accused Trump of “impeachable conduct.”

“I will be a strong voice, vote, and leader for West Michigan,” Lower told local media after his announcement. “West Michigan deserves a congressman who will actually represent the values of our community and who will work with President Trump and other members of Congress to get things done. I will be that congressman.”

Lower’s love for Trump may not be unrequited. According to Politico, the president is considering endorsing a challenger to Amash, and Lower is traveling to Washington in hopes of becoming the chosen one. “Obviously Trump is a huge component of our campaign, so it will probably go without saying that we’d love to have his endorsement,” Lower told Politico.

Trump is unlikely to care who runs against Amash, as long as it’s someone who will kiss the ring. Donald Trump Jr. has already signaled his eagerness to campaign against Amash in a primary, tweeting poll results Thursday that show Lower up 16 points. “See you soon Justin … I hear Michigan is beautiful during primary season,” he wrote.

Amash replied with a tweet of his own: “if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” a reference to Trump Jr.’s attempt to collude with the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Donald Trump and Justin Amash Plot Primary Challenges