Last week, freshman Democratic lawmaker Rep. Jeff Van Drew grabbed headlines after it was announced that he informed his top staffers of an imminent switch to the Republican party after a private meeting with President Donald Trump and on Tuesday, the president heaped praise on his new ally.
According to Politico, Trump took to Twitter to offer words of support for Van Drew, which included admiration for the lawmaker for his ability to win a seat in the heavily Republican district in New Jersey he represents.
“Congressman Jeff Van Drew is very popular in our great and very united Republican Party. It was a tribute to him that he was able to win his heavily Republican district as a Democrat. People like that are not easily replaceable!” Trump tweeted.
Politico reported that Van Drew’s rare and unexpected party allegiance switch came on the heels of pressure both from the White House and ranking Republicans in the House of Representatives. Van Drew was presumably pressured by the GOP to make the switch based on the fact that he was one of only two Democrats in the House who broke with his party during the formal vote to launch an impeachment inquiry into Trump over his past dealings with Ukraine.
Ever since Van Drew made his stance on impeachment clear, he reportedly was in contact with the White House several times before finally meeting with Trump in person and subsequently making it known that he made the decision to leave his party.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, five of Van Drew’s top staffers submitted a joint letter of resignation over the weekend in which they expressed their disapproval and disappointment in Van Drew’s decision to switch parties.
The resigning aides wrote that Van Drew’s decision to join the GOP “does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office.” They added that they can “no longer in good conscience continue our service in the Congressman’s employ.”
Congressman @RepCohen was asked about @CongressmanJVD on @CNN today. He called Van Drew a traitor and a rat for leaving the Democratic Party and becoming a Republican. He says bipartisan votes against impeachment means something is wrong with Republicans?! pic.twitter.com/8CHX1zf8SI— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) December 16, 2019
In no uncertain terms, the group of aides also slammed the Republican party in the letter.
“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,” they wrote.
House Democrats are expected to finish up hearings on the impeachment matter on Tuesday and then take a formal vote on whether or not to impeach the president on Wednesday.
Though Van Drew’s party switch doesn’t come at an ideal time for the Democratic party, there still appears to be plenty of Democrats — even those who represent districts won by the president in 2016 — to ensure the impeachment vote passes.