Analysis

Who Is Thomas Massie — The Republican Congressman Who Held Up The Coronavirus Relief Bill?

(Photo by Bryan Woolston/Getty Images)

Font Size:

Republican Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie came under fire Friday from his colleagues and President Donald Trump for holding up a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package.

The senate passed the package unanimously Wednesday night, and the House had planned to pass it by voice vote Friday, but rumblings that Massie planned to force a roll call vote forced members of Congress to fly back to Washington D.C. in the midst of a global pandemic. Former Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted that “Massie has tested positive for being an a**hole.”

The president was irate, calling for Massie to be thrown out of the Republican Party. The 49-year-old libertarian-leaning congressman is facing a primary on June 23. (RELATED: Trump Sends Letter To Governors Laying Out Plan To Potentially Relax Coronavirus Guidelines)

Before Massie was elected to the House in 2012, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he started a technology company in the 1990’s with his wife Rhonda. The Massie’s later sold the company for a large sum, before returning to Kentucky, where Thomas became involved in politics.

Massie has earned the nickname “Dr. No,” for often being one of the only members to vote no on bipartisan bills.  In recent years, Massie has often stood alone, particularly on foreign policy issues, where he was the only member of the House to vote against sanctions against Iran and North Korea. Additionally, Massie was the only member of the House to vote against condemning China’s torture of Uyghurs late last year, and was also the only member to vote against a resolution supporting protesters in Hong Kong. (RELATED: Andrew Cuomo Calls Stimulus Bill ‘Reckless’ And ‘Irresponsible’)

On the domestic policy front, Massie has introduced legislation to abolish both the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Massie also infamously forced a roll call vote on a resolution to award the Congressional Gold Medal to golfing legend Jack Nicklaus in 2014, objecting to Nicklaus receiving the award. Massie was also one of the only Republicans to vote against both John Boehner and Paul Ryan becoming speaker of the House.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 31: (L - R) Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) exit the Senate chamber after Paul spoke about surveillance legislation on the Senate floor, on Capitol Hill, May 31, 2015 in Washington, DC. The National Security Agency's authority to collect bulk telephone data is set to expire June 1, unless the Senate can come to an agreement to extend the surveillance programs. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 31: (L – R) Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) exit the Senate chamber after Paul spoke about surveillance legislation on the Senate floor, on Capitol Hill, May 31, 2015 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Throughout his tenure, Massie has had one close ally in Congress, Independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan. Both Massie and Amash have spent their time in the House railing against increased spending and the expansion of the federal government. However, the two broke ranks recently on one significant issue: the impeachment of Trump. While Amash left the Republican Party over his support for impeaching Trump, Massie defended the president, and staunchly opposed his impeachment. Now Trump has turned on Massie and Amash, and both libertarian-leaning congressman could be set for a tough reelection race.

Massie is being challenged in his district by a local attorney Todd McMurtry, who represented the students from Covington Catholic High School in their defamation lawsuits against major media outlets, including CNN and the Washington Post. Amash is running for re-election as an Independent and will face a Democratic and a Republican challenger for the seat.