New Jersey Rep. Jefferson Van Drew, the anti-impeachment Democrat who sent shockwaves across Capitol Hill after signaling he intends to switch his political allegiance to the Republican Party on the heels of a meeting with President Donald Trump, lost a number of his staffers over the weekend.
According to The Hill, five of the lawmaker’s top aides penned a letter expressing their disapproval and disappointment in Van Drew’s decision to make a rare party switch, especially given his status as a freshman lawmaker.
In the letter, the aides said that their boss’s plan to jump partisan ship “does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office” and indicated that they were all “deeply saddened and disappointed by his decision.”
The resigning employees also wrote that they could “no longer in good conscience continue our service in in the Congressman’s employ.”
The letter, which was sent to Van Drew’s current chief of staff, Allison Murphy, was signed by staffers Justin O’Leary, Edward Kaczmarski, Javier Gamboa, Mackenzie Lucas and Caroline Wood.
Aside from expressing their interest in moving on from Van Drew’s office, the aides also used the letter to take a jab at Republicans for backing the president throughout the impeachment inquiry process, even accusing the president of ripping apart America.
“Trump Republicans have sided with special interest over the needs of working people. Worse, they continue to aid and abet Trump as he shreds the Constitution and tears the country apart,” the aides wrote.
Echoing opinions from House and Senate Democrats, the aides also accused Trump of attempting to gain political advantage in his dealings with the Ukrainian president during a July 25 phone call, which led to an anonymous whistleblower complaint that would eventually spark the entire impeachment process.
“They have refused to grapple with how the President of the United States has jeopardized our national security for his own political advantage,” the aides added.
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) December 15, 2019
Van Drew, who managed to win election in a New Jersey district that was controlled by Republicans for more than two decades, apparently reacted to internal polling that showed he angered his constituents when he publicly broke with the Democratic Party over the impeachment controversy. Democrats allege that the reaction played a part in his desire to switch to the other side.
The Hill was provided a copy of the polling, which indicated that only 28 percent of voters in his district believe he should be re-elected in 2020, while a staggering 58 percent think otherwise.