Republican Amash becomes Trump Twitter foil

Detroit News staff

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash continued his Twitter criticism of President-elect Donald Trump in the the last week, suggesting Trump overstepped in his campaign to convince the heating and air conditioning company Carrier Corp. to keep 1,000 jobs in Indianapolis.

“Not the president(-elect)’s job. We live in a constitutional republic, not an autocracy. Business-specific meddling shouldn’t be normalized,” tweeted Amash, the libertarian-leaning Republican from Cascade Township.

He was responding to a Trump tweet on Thanksgiving announcing he was “working hard” to get Carrier to scrap plans to shift operations to Mexico.

Amash later noted that “when a state does this, I call it corporate welfare and cronyism,” he tweeted. “It benefits politically connected companies at expense of most residents.”

Carrier this week confirmed an agreement with Trump on jobs, but did not provide details.

Amash also pushed back on Trump’s tweet Tuesday that Americans who burn the U.S. flag should lose their citizenship or spend a year in jail.

“Nobody should burn the American flag, but our Constitution secures our right to do so. No president is allowed to burn the First Amendment,” Amash wrote.

The Supreme Court upheld the right to burn the flag on free-speech grounds in 1989. Amash quoted Justice Antonin Scalia on flag burning: “First Amdt says...right of free speech shall not be abridged—in particular...speech critical of the govt.”

UM professor chimes in

Amash wasn’t the only Michiganian who ribbed the president-elect over the Carrier deal on Twitter this week.

Justin Wolfers, an economics professor at the University of Michigan, openly mocked Trump’s play to keep jobs in Indiana from going to Mexico.

“Every savvy CEO will now threaten to ship jobs to Mexico, and demand a payment to stay. Great economic policy,” Wolfers wrote in a tweet that went viral Wednesday.

Wolfers sought to inject facts into the social media conversation.

“Trump claims to have prevented 1,000 job losses at Carrier,” Wolfers wrote. “Some perspective: Nearly 2 million Americans are laid off each *month*.”

Could this mean savvy CEOs will now threaten to ship jobs to Mexico and demand a payment to stay?

Mich. trees light up D.C.

Michigan has provided the most trees to Congress to serve as the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington than any other state, according to an analysis of federal data by the Washington Post.

Michigan has donated five Christmas trees since 1970: a 41-foot Balsam fir in 1975, a 50-foot White spruce in 1981, a 56-foot White spruce in 1985, a 50-foot Balsam fir in 1988 and a 74-foot White spruce in 2001, according to the Architect of the Capitol.

The trees have come from three national forests in Michigan — Ottawa, Manistee and Hiawatha. Volunteers and sponsors typically pay to help transport the tree to Capitol Hill in Washington, where it’s lit and decorated for the season.

This year’s tree is an 80-foot Engelmann spruce from Payette National Forest in Idaho. It will be lit by House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday during a ceremony on the West Front Lawn.

Ex-rep finishes distant 3rd

Newly certified election results from Nov. 8 show that former U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, running as an Independent, finished a distant third as he tried to win back his seat from Rep. Dave Trott in the 11th District

Trott, a Birmingham attorney, won with 53 percent of the vote over Dr. Anil Kumar, a urologist from Bloomfield Township, who received 40 percent. Bentivolio garnered 4.4 percent.

Libertarian JonathanRay Osment, who was also on the ballot, received 2.5 percent.

The race was tighter than 2014 when Trott first won election, defeating Democrat Bobby McKenzie by 16 percentage points. Had Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton performed better at the top of the ticket, Kumar might have come closer to knocking off the freshman Trott.

In the 12th District, Working Class Party candidate Gary Walkowicz performed better at the polls than Libertarian Tom Bagwell or Green Party candidate Dylan Calewarts.

Walkowicz, a member of the United Auto Workers Local 600 bargaining committee, received 3.8 percent of the vote, while Bagwell earned 2.3 percent and Calewarts 1.3 percent.

Of course, Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, handily won her second term with 64 percent of returns to Republican Jeff Jones’ 29 percent.

Calley touts special ed issue

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is hoping to get fellow Republicans and Democrats to take on a school issue that is percolating below the surface.

Calley said he wants to enact legislation to end the practice of “restraint and seclusion” techniques to discipline K-12 special education students. It usually involves restraining or isolating disruptive children in another room and not allowing them to leave.

“The practice of using restraints and seclusion or sensory deprivation on any kids, but I’ll say especially our most vulnerable populations, is cruel and inhumane,” Calley told The Detroit News.

He added that he has heard from “hundreds” of parents that the practice is common in Michigan.

“Unfortunately I can’t even say it’s uncommon,” Calley said, adding: “I mean I have a 6-year-old daughter. I have a 9-year-old daughter, a 12-year-old son. I couldn’t even imagine that practice being used on them.

“It’s just something that we need to move on with the rest of the world beyond this.”

Contributors: Melissa Nann Burke, Michael Gerstein, Chad Livengood