Michigan Republican trashes Trump to calm town hall crowd angered by Obamacare repeal
A Michigan Republican calmed an impassioned crowd protesting the repeal of Obamacare by reminding them he’d opposed Donald Trump.
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Township) met Tuesday evening with about 250 of his constituents at the Gerald R. Ford Museum, but many more were left outside the crowded auditorium due to fire code limits, reported MLive.
The constituents who arrived early enough to take part quickly peppered Amash with questions on climate change, the repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care law and other political issues.
“Do you or do you not support the immediate repeal of the Affordable Care Act with or without a replacement?” one attendee asked.
Amash told the constituent that he expected state governments to come up with a replacement for the health care reform law — and the crowd erupted in anger.
The crowd frequently interrupted Amash during the town hall, and members of the audience repeatedly insisted the lawmaker refer to the law as the Affordable Care Act instead of Obamacare.
Amash drew applause by asking the crowd to move away from a “Team Democrat” versus “Team Republican” mentality — but he was met with even more enthusiastic applause by denouncing the president-elect.
The crowd cheered when Amash told them he hadn’t voted for Trump and had frequently criticized his fellow Republican on social media.
“I mean, have you seen my tweets?” Amash said. “I’m not a very partisan guy. I will hold President Trump accountable just like I held President Obama accountable.”
The lawmaker made news last week when he called out Trump for repeatedly criticizing Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who had questioned the election results due to concerns about possible Russian interference.
“Dude, just stop,” Amash chided Trump.
Amash voted against a budget resolution last week that would set in motion the repeal of the 2010 health care law.
He and Rep. Raul Labrador were the only two members of the conservative Freedom Caucus to vote against the resolution, joining four GOP moderates and three conservative Republicans who aren’t part of the Tea Party-backed legislative group.
“A lot of people fell for what I call the ‘We have to have dinner tonight in Paris, France, or else we’ll starve routine,'” Amash told Roll Call. “We don’t have to vote for this terrible budget in order to move to the repeal of Obamacare. We can put together a good budget and also repeal Obamacare.”
Amash and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) asked the White House for more evidence related to alleged Russian election hacking, and he has criticized the Trump transition team’s response to those claims.
He refused to support Trump, even though he believed he could win, because he was worried the real estate developer and former reality TV star did not fully understand or respect the U.S. Constitution.
“Let’s see it happen,” he said last month of concerns that Trump might target him. “It’s up to him how he takes it. I’m going to stand by my beliefs and stand up for my constituents and stand up for the Constitution.”
At least some of his constituents hoped Amash would hear their concerns before voting with his ideological allies to repeal the health care law.
“I want our country to be strong and I want Justin out of his bubble,” said voter Peter Dimitriou. “I want him to start dropping some of the ideological precepts he lives by to hear some of the real stories of his constituents.”