Rep. Jeff Van Drew pledged his ‘undying support‘ for President Trump after switching from the Democrat Party to Republican on Thursday after voting against impeaching President Donald Trump.
‘I didn’t leave my party, my party left me,’ said Rep. Van Drew, explaining why he’s quitting the Democrats, while paraphrasing Ronald Regan.
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In a dramatic Oval Office announcement alongside President Trump, the former Democrat said he was switching to the other side of the political aisle the day after he was one of only two lawmakers on the left to vote against both articles of impeachment against the president.
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‘Jeff will be joining the Republican Party,’ Trump unveiled to reporters Thursday afternoon, adding that the newly declared member of the GOP had his endorsement in the 2020 elections.
Van Drew reciprocated the vote of confidence, telling the president he has his ‘undying support.‘
‘I believe that this is just a better fit for me. This is who I am. It’s who I always was but there was more tolerance of moderate Democrats, of Blue Dog Democrats of conservative Democrats. And I think that’s going away,’ Van Drew said.
‘Two things I want to say. One, you have my undying support. Always,‘ he directed at the president.
‘And the last thing I will say, one of my heros, and he’s always hung in my office – I have a bipartisan wall that has a lot of different people on there – Ronald Reagan and when he said, ‘I didn’t leave my party, my party left me,’ Van Drew said, inciting the worlds of the late Republican president.
‘It’s true, that’s what he said,‘ Trump said.
‘And I’m saying the same thing,‘ Van Drew continued.
DailyMail report: Van Drew, who represents a largely red district in New Jersey, voted against both the abuse of power and obstruction of Congress articles filed against Trump and approved in the House Wednesday night.
One other Democrat joined Van Drew in voting against both articles – Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota. Although he represents a largely red area where some counties voted upwards of 60 per cent for Trump on 2016, Minnesota went blue in the last presidential election by a margin of only 1.5 per cent.
Congressman Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd district voted against obstruction of congress but vote to move forward with impeaching the president based on the first article – abuse of power.
Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic representative for Hawaii and 2020 presidential candidate, faced backlash when she decided to vote ‘present’ on both articles instead of casting a vote one way or the other.
Day ahead of the impeachment vote in the lower chamber, speculation swirled that Van Drew would be switching political parties following a Friday meeting with Trump at the White House.
The rumors were further spread after Trump praised the congressman on Twitter after their sit-down.
‘Wow, that would be big. Always heard Jeff is very smart!’ Trump tweeted over the weekend in response to news Van Drew was considering the switch.
Van Drew has voiced his disdain for impeachment since the get-go and has never supported the proceedings.
While speaking in the Oval Office Thursday, he said he had contemplated leaving the Democratic Party at several other points during his political career.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Vice President Mike Pence were also at the oval office meeting, and agreed with the president that they would pledge their endorsement to Van Drew.
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Trump’s daughter and Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump were also in the meeting Thursday afternoon with Van Drew.
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