Independent Rep. Justin Amash announced on Tuesday that he had launched an exploratory committee to seek the Libertarian Party's nomination for president.
"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," tweeted Amash.
President Donald Trump mocked Amash's announcement on Wednesday, tweeting "No, I think Amash would make a wonderful candidate, especially since he is way behind in his district and has no chance of maintaining his Congressional seat. He almost always votes for the Do Nothing Dems anyway.”
Amash left the Republican Party in July and has served five terms, according to Fox News. The congressman represents the district of Michigan that includes Grand Rapids. Michigan is expected to be a key battleground for the 2020 presidential campaign, according to Bloomberg Magazine.The congressman would be taking on both Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden. In 2016 the Libertarian Party's nominee, New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, only won 3.3% of the national vote.Amash is the son of a Palestinian and a Syrian immigrant, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. The congressman told the Rolling Stone that his father had told him he was forced from his home in the town of Ramla by Israeli soldiers. In 2019, Amash called out Rep. Ilhan Omar for stating the 116th Congress had the first Palestinian-American member of Congress, tweeting "My father is Palestinian, and I’ve been in Congress since 2011."
My father is Palestinian, and I’ve been in Congress since 2011.— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 4, 2019
Amash was the only member of the House of Representatives who voted against a bill that would force Trump to appoint a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism.The Libertarian Party's convention is scheduled for May 21 in Austin, Texas, although the coronavirus could change the timing, according to NPR. In a Washington Post op-ed, Amash stated that he had left the Republican Party because "the two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions."
Libertarian Party Chair Nicholas Sarwark welcomed the announcement, saying in an email to Reason, a Libertarian-leaning magazine: "I'm happy to see that Representative Amash has come home to the political party most closely aligned with his views."
"If more members of the House who are tired of being marginalized by the GOP and Democratic leadership joined him, we could see a caucus of legislators who are able to work for the American people instead of conflicting teams of special interests. My DMs are open," added Sarwark.
Amash told Reason that he believes that the 2020 presidential election is a "winnable race" for the Libertarian Party. The congressman explained that he decided around February to start researching the possibility of joining the race and eventually reached the point where he was "confident" he could win.
"When I look at these candidates, I think most Americans see the same thing I'm seeing, which is: These two candidates aren't up to being president of the United States, and we need an alternative. And I'm confident that I can be that alternative," said Amash.