New Jersey Democratic Rep. Jeff Van Drew is reportedly planning to switch to the Republican Party over his opposition to the impeachment against President Trump, The New York Times reports.
Van Drew, who already voted to oppose the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, plans to vote against the articles of impeachment against the president.
Van Drew, who represents a conservative district that had been represented by a Republican for 24 years before his election, told aides that he plans to switch parties as soon as this week.
“At the end of the day, I’m afraid all we’re going to have is a failed impeachment,” he told Fox News last month. “The bottom line is he’s still going to be the president of the United States, and the bottom line is he is still going to be the candidate of the Republican Party. So why don’t we let the people do the impeachment by voting in the electoral process the way that we usually do.”
Trump lobbies Van Drew to switch parties:
The move reportedly came after Trump personally lobbied Van Drew to switch parties, apparently vowing to support him in the upcoming election.
Republicans decried the idea to The Times, arguing that any support Trump offered Van Drew would quickly fade once Trump had “gotten what he wanted.”
Van Drew may face multiple Republican Party challengers in the primary if he does switch.
“He’s doing what he’s done for nearly 30 years,” said Brian Fitzherbert, one of those Republicans. “Political survivorship. It’s desperation.”
“I think he’s a traitor,” added Democrat Brigid Harrison, who is weighing a run. “I think it is something that is emblematic of the cynicism of our country.”
7 aides quit in protest:
Van Drew’s entire Washington DC staff quit in protest after the reports.
“Sadly, Congressman Van Drew’s decision to join the ranks of Republican Party led by Donald Trump does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office,’’ five of his aides said in a letter obtained by The Times.
The Times reports that Van Drew’s chief of staff is the only staff member remaining at his Washington office.