Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said Monday that the best way to remedy the dysfunction plaguing Capitol Hill might be to get House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) out of the way.
“We need either a change in direction from this speaker, or we need a new speaker,” the lawmaker said while answering a town hall question about Washington gridlock, CNN reported, adding that Ryan might need to be replaced by someone who is “nonpartisan.”
The comment came after senior White House adviser Dan Scavino tweeted earlier this month that Amash “is a big liability” and needs to be challenged in the Republican primary.
.@realDonaldTrump is bringing auto plants & jobs back to Michigan. @justinamash is a big liability. #TrumpTrain, defeat him in primary.— Dan Scavino (@Dan Scavino)1491064425.0
The Michigan Republican responded to Scavino’s attack, saying President Donald Trump’s administration and establishment Washington had “merged into #Trumpstablishment.”
Trump admin & Establishment have merged into #Trumpstablishment. Same old agenda: Attack conservatives, libertarian… https://t.co/I6yygQjJa9— Justin Amash (@Justin Amash)1491067366.0
Much of the backlash Amash, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, has faced from Trump officials is centered on his opposition to the American Health Care Act, the GOP’s extremely unpopular (and ultimately failed) plan to replace former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
During the question-and-answer session in Cedar Springs, Michigan, Amash didn’t hold back in his criticism of Trump, whom he suggested wouldn’t be able to handle a town hall event in any district.
“When we go home for the weekend, they give us a set of talking points. They say, ‘Here are your talking points,’” Amash said, holding up a piece of paper with directives on it. “That’s not the way you're supposed to represent a community.”
Though some Trump-supporting pundits, like Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, whom the president encouraged his Twitter followers to watch, have called on Ryan to step aside following the failure to pass the White House-backed Obamacare replacement bill last month, there have not been widespread calls for the speaker’s removal within Congress.
In fact, during a recent appearance on ABC News’ “This Week,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), leader of the House Freedom Caucus, said there are “no conversations going on” in his caucus about replacing Ryan.
“We're committed to work with the president, the speaker, the current speaker, and make sure that what we do is get some consensus,” he said in late March.
Overall, though, Amash tried to stick to the issues and not get too mired in politics, telling eventgoers, “I’m the one holding a town hall here — not Donald Trump.”