A top aide to President Donald Trump Saturday called for a primary challenge to Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan — as the president ramped up his attacks on the conservative House Freedom Caucus that derailed the Republican healthcare bill last month.
Dan Scavino, the White House director of social media, took to Twitter, arguing that the four-term congressman is "a big liability" as Trump seeks to bring more jobs back to the state's automobile industry.
But Scavino's tweet led former White House ethics czar Richard Painter to say that the aide might have violated the Hatch Act, enacted during the Depression to regulate campaigning by government officials.
Painter served under former President George W. Bush. His tweet was first reported by Politico:
Amash, 36, faces re-election next year. He was first elected in the tea party wave in 2010.
The representative was among many Freedom Caucus members who slammed the American Health Care Act — leading Trump to tell House Speaker Paul Ryan to pull the legislation from a floor vote for the second time on March 24 when it became clear that many Republicans would not support it.
Here are some of Amash's tweets during the process:
Trump has badgered the Freedom Caucus this week, tweeting Thursday — for instance — that "we must fight them" and Democrats next year.
Amash responded in kind:
He also hit back at Scavino's post Saturday with his own hashtag: "Trumpstablishment."
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