Infighting within the GOP spilled out into the public on Thursday with a Republican House member bashing a libertarian-leaning colleague as “Al Qaeda’s best friend in the Congress.”
The comments from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) were targeting Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), who is facing a primary challenger and has been a vocal critic of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.
“He’s been leading the charge and not telling the truth about [NSA surveillance policies],” Nunes said in an interview with Politico. “He’s been fanning the flames, and it gets to the point where my assessment is this is a guy willing to work with San Francisco Democrats to protect bait fish, and at the same time he’s Al Qaeda’s best friend in the Congress.”
Nunes also said Amash is not a “serious member of Congress” and accused him of “playing games, and trying to be on the opposite side of Republicans.”
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) also went off about Amash to Politico.
“Once you get to know [Amash], and I know that district from being around Michigan for long enough, he’s completely out of line with these people,” Rogers said. “He votes more with the Democrats than with the Republicans, and that’s not out of principle, that’s out of him branding himself as something different.”
Amash defended his voting record in a statement, criticizing Nunes for speaking ill of him.
“Because my vote explanations shine a spotlight on Congress, I’ve upset people who are used to operating in the dark,” he said. “I vote less often with Nancy Pelosi, the real San Francisco Democrat, than any member of Congress. I opposed Nunes’ water bill on constitutional grounds, and his comments are unbecoming of a representative.”
Establishment Republicans, including Rogers, have been largely throwing their weight behind Amash’s primary challenger, investment manager Brian Ellis, according to Politico.