Democratic Congressman Jeff Van Drew recently announced that he would be switching political parties after Democrats pushed the most partisan impeachment process in U.S. history and met with President Trump on Thursday to confirm the transition.
Van Drew, who voted against impeachment on Wednesday, met with Trump where the president warmly invited him into the Republican Party.
“Jeff will be joining the Republican Party,” Trump said in the Oval Office to a group of reporters.
“I believe that this is just a better fit for me,” Van Drew said in response. “This is who I am.”
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) December 19, 2019
“There was more tolerance of moderate Democrats, of Blue Dog Democrats, of conservative Democrats, and I think that’s going away,” Van Draw continued, before quoting former President Ronald Reagan regarding his switch.
“You have my undying support,” he then told Trump.
The president said he was also endorsing Van Drew in his upcoming primary.
“I didn’t leave my party, my party left me,” Van Drew added.
Roll Call reports:
Van Drew, who won the 2nd District by 8 points after Republican Frank A. LoBiondo declined to run in 2018, has always been a more conservative Democrat. He voted against some gun control measures and same-sex marriage in the state legislature. But since he’s been in Congress, the dentist has voted with House Democrats more than 80 percent of the time.
Rumors about Van Drew’s party switch began last weekend after he met with the president. The freshman congressman told his staff, some of whom then quit en masse. The Energy and Commerce Committee’s Democratic staff took them in temporarily, while Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy loaned some staffers to Van Drew’s office.
Van Drew’s vote against impeachment was hardly a surprise. He’d been one of two Democrats who also voted against an October resolution laying out the procedures for the impeachment inquiry in the House.
Watch the congressman’s comments below:
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 19, 2019
Republican Whip Steve Scalise welcomed the former Democrat to the Republican ranks.
“Welcome to the Republican Party, @CongressmanJVD! I’m excited to work together!” he tweeted. “We welcome all who want to fight for hardworking American families!”
Welcome to the Republican Party, @CongressmanJVD! I'm excited to work together!
We welcome all who want to fight for hardworking American families!
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) December 19, 2019