Who is Justin Amash and why is this Republican calling for Trump’s impeachment?

Arab American Amash has earned both respect and rebuke for his comments.

By Ludy Astraquillo Ongkeko, Ph.D.

Standing out as the sole Republican who has called for the impeachment of Donald Trump is 36-year-old Arab American Congressman Justin Amash from Michigan.  He underscored to his supporters that Congress has a duty to “keep the president in check, regardless of their political affiliation.”

“I’ll do it whether it was a Republican president or Democratic president,” he told his supporters. “You elected me to represent all of you…I think we owe it to the American people to represent them, to ensure that the people we have in office are doing the right thing, are of good character and aren’t violating the public trust.”

As a consequence of his action, Amash, known as a pillar of the House Freedom Caucus, quit the conservative organization after some members voted to “condemn” him for his comments. He insisted the decision to step down was voluntary.

Amash stressed how he has read the entire special counsel report by Robert Mueller and became convinced Trump engaged in “impeachable conduct.” He challenged his colleagues to read the report cover to cover.

Another strong statement from Amash accused Attorney General William Barr of “deliberately misrepresenting” the findings of the Mueller report concerning Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Although the Mueller findings did not establish that Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government, Amash maintained Trump should be subject to an independent investigation.

He is expected to face a well-funded primary challenge from Michigan State Representative, James Lower  who must have seen a possible political fallout from Amash’s impeachment comments.

Amash was born in Grand Rapids to Arab-Christian parents. Published reports state that his father is Palestinian Christian and his mother a Syrian Christian. They came to the U.S. in the 1970s. He received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Michigan and his juris doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. According to his website, he worked for his family’s business – an industrial tool company founded by his father — before he became a politician. He was the corporate lawyer. He and his wife Kara, a former elementary school teacher, have three children.

As a congressman, he is known for having an exceptional attendance record.

The reactions to Amash’s comments have earned him both respect and rebuke from the public and the Republican Party.

Some have praised him for “doing his job and staying true to what he was elected to do, to uphold the oath of his office.” Still others thanked him for “having the courage some of his colleagues lack.”

On the opposite side, some of his party mates have criticized him for his remarks. Foremost among them was Trump himself who called Amash “a loser” and a “total lightweight.” Others said the man “wants attention” and nothing more.

As a member of Congress, he is known for having an independent mind who has crossed party lines when voting.

While he may be the first Republican to call for an independent investigation of Trump, he believes he won’t be the last.

© The FilAm 2019

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