Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Trott announced Monday that he will not be running for re-election in 2018.* This is only Trott's second term in the House, he's only 56 years old, and he won his 2016 race by nearly 13 points, so it's not like he's getting too old for the job or being run out of town. He is, however, the guy who reportedly told Donald Trump to his face in July that his administration was a disaster. From Politico:
Rep. Dave Trott shocked the room when he said the president had been unhelpful on health care, according to sources at the meeting. The second-term Republican from Michigan worried aloud that constant White House infighting was distracting from the Republican agenda — and he said he felt the president could have done more to get the bill across the finish line.
Trott isn't exactly a secret liberal: He was one of the first sitting Michigan Republicans to endorse Trump during the 2016 cycle and supported the president's controversial ban on travelers from several majority-Muslim countries. But he has also criticized Trump for being soft on Russia and was outright dismissive of POTUS's embarrassing response to the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia:
I think America needs more unity and less divisiveness...meaning @realDonaldTrump should focus more on golf & have less press conferences.— Dave Trott (@repdavetrott) August 16, 2017
Trott, moreover, is the third Republican Trump critic to have announced that he's not running for re-election in the past week, joining Washington's Dave Reichert and Pennsylvania's Charlie Dent. Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, also no fan of the president, made the same decision in May.
The obvious concern here for the GOP, as one anonymous party operative told the Washington Examiner recently, is that these announcements trigger "a flood of moderate Republicans retiring because they don't want to have to defend Trump and deal with their far right colleagues anymore." Such a flood could help Democrats retake the House in 2018, and at the moment the Cook Political Report projects only Dent's district as likely to stay in GOP hands. (Ros-Lehtinen's is listed as a Democratic lean while Reichert and Trott's are toss-ups.) Overall, though, Cook still predicts that Republicans will maintain both chambers of Congress—and, for comparison, 17 House Democrats declined to run for re-election during the Dems' difficult 2010 cycle.
Still, most high-level political analysts will tell you that it's generally bad news for a political party when popular incumbents are retiring because they are openly sick of the president only nine months into his term.
*Correction, Sept. 11, 2017, at 3:25 p.m.: This post originally misstated that Trott announced he would not run for re-election in 2020; the post's author forgot how long a House term lasts. Said author apologizes for forgetting one of the most basic elementary school–level facts in United States civics.