Speed Reads

A house divided

Freedom Caucus leader on White House attacks: 'Tweets and statements and blame don't change facts'

President Trump's social media director, Dan Scavino, on Twitter Saturday called for pro-Trump Republicans in Michigan to oust Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a congressman who has become a vocal libertarian critic of Trump. "@realDonaldTrump is bringing auto plants & jobs back to Michigan," Scavino tweeted. "@justinamash is a big liability., defeat him in primary."

Amash is also a member of the House Freedom Caucus, which helped defeat the American Health Care Act. Trump himself declared his displeasure with the caucus Thursday, tweeting his intention to "fight" the group in 2018, presumably in the primaries.

On Sunday, Freedom Caucus founder Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) hit back. "Tweets and statements and blame don't change facts," he said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper. "And the facts remain the same. When you look at the [AHCA] document, when you look at the legislation, it doesn't repeal ObamaCare." Of the Scavino tweet, he added, "Justin Amash is a good friend and one of the most principled members of Congress. And, frankly, if he is primaried, I'm going to do everything I can to help him." Amash replied on Twitter, too:

Scavino's post may have run afoul of the Hatch Act, which prohibits electioneering by government officials. A White House ethics lawyer who worked under President George W. Bush, Richard Painter, raised the issue on Twitter. This is "Ethics 101," he wrote, adding that the Bush White House would have fired Scavino forthwith.