Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) on Monday rejected a call by close ally Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Massie, a supporter of the President’s, claimed to have been blindsided by Amash’s remarks, and clarified that he was “180 degrees diametrically opposed” to them.
“When you quote me, just make sure people understand I disagree,” Massie emphasized.
Amash’s call was also officially condemned by his allies in the Freedom Caucus, a powerful rightist grouping of Republican members of Congress.
“We had a good discussion and every single member, I think now based on who was there and our board meeting was probably over 30 members, every single member disagrees and strongly with the position Justin took over the week, and we’re focused on the now,” said Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC).
“Justin is one solo voice and the rest of this group here says ‘you’re wrong,’” added another Freedom Caucus member, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ).
The Freedom Caucus’ Vice Chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), drew attention to the disparity between Amash’s professed libertarianism and his current stance.
“What concerns me is Justin was viewed as a leader, right, on protecting privacy rights first to First Amendment rights,” he said.
“We had a press conference like a year ago with Rand Paul, Sen. [Ron] Wyden all on concerns about civil liberties and how the FISA court operates and what can happen in this whole, you know, this whole area, and now Justin’s, on the other side and I just don’t understand that.”
“To look at that and see him take the position he is, I mean, it’s shocking. And then I had no conversations with him about it. And I think that was another thing he just didn’t really talk to the group about it,” continued Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), another prominent member.
“We’ve all read the report, so I was kinda floored by Justin’s conclusions. I disagree with him wholeheartedly on this,” added Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ).
However, Freedom Caucus members were careful not to make it a personal issue, with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of Trump’s closest allies, stating that he was still friends with Amash and was “not going to campaign against Justin” should the President endorse a primary challenge against him.
Though a founding member of the Caucus, he has had a fraught relationship with it in recent years, and has not attended a meeting of the group in almost a year. He threatened to quit the group last year after claiming it not sufficiently defend former Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), a Trump critic who lost a primary challenge.
Though Amash now looks to be facing a primary challenge of his own, though many have speculated he intends to leave the Republican Party altogether and defect to the Libertarian Party in order to pursue a 2020 presidential bid.