Author:Welch, Matt

WE DON'T NORMALLY associate Republican lawmakers with former Mexican leaders. But similar to the way many Latin American ex-presidentes suddenly discover an interest in legalizing marijuana once safely out of office, GOP members of Congress have an uncanny way of finding reasons to oppose Donald Trump right around the time they announce retirement.

Rep. Francis Rooney (R--Fla.) on October 19 became the 21st Republican member of the 116th Congress--compared to just seven Democrats at the time and nine as of press time--to announce that he will not seek that which politicians otherwise live for: re-election. The move came precisely one day after the southwest Floridian became the first current member of the House Republican caucus to declare openness to impeaching the president over the question of whether he made delivery of authorized aid money to Ukraine contingent on the newly elected president there announcing a possible investigation into 2020 Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden.

"It's painful to me to see this kind of amateur diplomacy, riding roughshod over our State Department apparatus," Rooney, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told The New York Times. "I want to get the facts and do the right thing, because I'll be looking at my children a lot longer than I'm looking to anybody in this building."

Ten days later, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) became the 22nd Republican to announce retirement. The first Republican congressman to back an impeachment inquiry, self-described libertarian Rep. Justin Amash (I--Mich.), became a non-Republican within two months of that announcement, and at the end of October he was the only non-Democratic member of the House to back an impeachment investigation. Meanwhile, the growing number of premature retirees have been among the loudest in expressing alarm at the murky Ukraine-related behavior first made public by a CIA whistleblower.

"There is a lot in the whistle-blower complaint that is concerning," Rep. Will Hurd (R--Texas), a former rising GOP star, tweeted September 26, seven weeks after announcing his own non-re-election. "We need to fully investigate all of the allegations addressed in the letter."

It's not just on substance that self-liberated Republicans dissent from a president who is often more popular among their constituents. They also tend to object much more bluntly than their remaining colleagues to Trump's style, such as his statement that four House Democratic...

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