Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) penned an op-ed Thursday in defense of a cutting victory speech he gave last week, writing that he was “standing up to the bullying” when he blasted his losing, establishment-backed primary opponent.
After winning the Republican primary, Amash lit into investment manager Brian Ellis for running a “despicable smear campaign” against him, including running an ad that referred to Amash as “Al-Qaeda’s best friend.” The Grand Rapids Press editorial board panned that victory speech last week, writing that “there was a high road alternative he should have taken to bring the party back together after such a bitter race.”
“I don’t know why my opponent resorted to such tactics. I can only speculate why a former West Michigan congressman endorsed and repeated those attacks,” the congressman wrote in his rebuttal to the editorial board. “I do know that if we want healthier, more civil politics that reflect the values of our community, such over-the-line smears must end.”
Amash wrote that candidates must “start by standing up to the bullying” in order to keep over-the-top negativity out of campaigns.
“Candidates for office are entitled to run tough campaigns against me or anyone else,” he wrote. “But we all can agree that there are lines that should not be crossed, even in politics. I propose that an ethnically tinged charge of supporting terrorists is one of those lines, and accusing a pro-life father of allowing the murder of baby girls is another.”