New Jersey Democratic Congressman Jeff Van Drew, who has strongly opposed the Democrats’ impeachment efforts, is leaving the Democratic Party and becoming a member of the Republican Party after meeting with President Donald Trump.
“Van Drew’s congressional and campaign staff were informed he was planning to switch parties on Saturday, according to Democratic sources,” Politico reported. “The question was now when, not if, Van Drew was joining the Republican Party, according to several Democrats with knowledge of the ongoing conversations.”
Van Drew reportedly met “at length” with Trump on Friday and his decision to switch parties is supposed to be officially announced in the near future, a top GOP source told Politico.
The Washington Post reported that his decision to switch parties delivered “a political jolt to Democrats ahead of next week’s expected vote to impeach the president.”
News of Van Drew’s defection went viral online moments after the story broke with many noting that the move is highly damaging to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment efforts.
Federalist co-founder Sean Davis tweeted: “Nancy Pelosi isn’t just hemorrhaging votes for her impeachment gambit, she’s now facing wholesale defections from the Democrat party because of its impeachment hysteria.”
Nancy Pelosi isn't just hemorrhaging votes for her impeachment gambit, she's now facing wholesale defections from the Democrat party because of its impeachment hysteria. https://t.co/iWkH1bcous
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 14, 2019
Bryan Dean Wright, a Democrat and former CIA officer, responded to the news by writing on Twitter: “Turns out people get tired of defending a party that’s spent the past three years embracing Socialists, anti-Semites, and hysteria.”
Turns out people get tired of defending a party that’s spent the past three years embracing Socialists, anti-Semites, and hysteria. https://t.co/8Wnr0Vw1EH
— Bryan Dean Wright (@BryanDeanWright) December 14, 2019
In a recent interview with USA Today, Van Drew said, “My job isn’t really to like or dislike him. My job is to exact as much goodwill and help for my district and for this nation and for this world that I possibly can while he’s president.”
On the issue of impeachment, Van Drew said, “To some folks, that’s reminiscent of what was done to kings and queens many years ago. Everything our country doesn’t stand for.”
Speaking on impeachment this week, Van Drew told reporters: “It was supposed to be bipartisan, it was supposed to be incontrovertible. It was supposed to be something that was always on the rarest of circumstances. Well it’s not bipartisan.”
Van Drew is not the only Democrat to warn his party on impeachment, Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) warned the Democrats that if Trump gets removed from office that it could be a bad move politically because of who the Democrats may have to face from the GOP in 2020.
“I do think that it’s the right thing to do to remove him from office. I believe he is an imminent danger to this country and to our democracy, but I was saying that the political consequences may not be very good for the Democrats,” Yarmuth said. “I will guarantee you the Republican Party would not nominate Mike Pence to succeed him. They would nominate someone like Nikki Haley who would be much more difficult for Democrats to defeat.”
In late November, Democrat Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI) said that Trump should be censured but not removed from office.
“You can censure, you don’t have to remove the president,” Lawrence said. “We are so close to an election. I will tell you, sitting here, knowing how divided this country is, I don’t see the value of kicking him out of office, but I do see the value of putting down a marker saying his behavior is not acceptable.”