Anti-Trump Conservatives Say Justin Amash Run in 2020 Would Help President's Re-election Chances

Anti-Trump conservatives are criticizing Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican-turned-indepedent who announced he is exploring a run for the Libertarian Party's nomination for November's presidential election, arguing his candidacy would improve the president's re-election chances.

Amash, who has represented Michigan's 3rd district in the U.S. House since 2011, is a critic of President Donald Trump and backed his impeachment. Amash quit the Republican Party in July 2019 after clashing with Trump.

On Tuesday evening, Amash said he had launched an exploratory committee to seek the Libertarian nomination for the next presidential election. "Americans are ready for practical approaches based in humility and trust of the people," he wrote on Twitter.

"We're ready for a presidency that will restore respect for our Constitution and bring people together. I'm excited and honored to be taking these first steps toward serving Americans of every background as president."

But some of those on the right who also oppose Trump's presidency said Amash risked drawing vital support from the likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden in what is shaping up to be a heated contest in November.

George Conway, the conservative lawyer and former Republican who is one of president's fiercest critics from the right, wrote on Twitter that he admired Amash for how he "stood up for the rule of law in Trump's impeachment" in response to the news about a 2020 run.

"And needless to say, my views align more closely with Amash's than Biden's," Conway continued. "But the only real effect Amash could have in this campaign is to enhance Trump's chances. This is a terrible idea."

Joe Walsh, a former congressman who recently ran unsuccessfully against Trump in the Republican Party's 2020 primaries, said a vote for Amash in the next election "is a vote for Donald Trump."

"Justin knows that. If he runs, he knows he'd be helping Trump. Justin knows Trump is a unique threat to America. If Justin runs, he's putting his own interest before the country's interests. If he runs, shame on him," Walsh wrote on Twitter.

Tom Nichols, a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College and a conservative who opposes Trump, also took aim at Amash.

"There is zero chance - zero - that Justin Amash will win the presidency," Nichols wrote on Twitter. "There is plenty of chance that Amash's votes will not come from Trump's cult, but at Biden's expense. There is a large chance this will reelect Trump. Thanks for being the new Ralph Nader."

Nichols added: "If Amash can take MI and enough votes in two or three other states, Trump is back in. A lot of people have been hoping for an option where they can say they voted *against* Trump, but not *for* a Dem, and still get Trump anyway while claiming their hands are clean."

Amash for America has been contacted for comment.

"We're ready," said the Amash campaign website. "For something new. For a government that secures our rights. For equality before the law. For an end to cronyism.

"For a government that fulfills its purpose and recognizes its limits. For practical approaches based in humility and trust of the people. For an honest, principled president who will defend the Constitution and put individuals first."

Justin Amash 2020 election president Trump
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan holds a Town Hall Meeting on May 28, 2019 in Grand Rapids while he was still a Republican. Amash later quit the party to become an independent. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images