On the heels of a successful impeachment vote against him, President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that freshman, Democratic Rep. Jeff Van Drew will officially be making the switch to join the Republican party.
According to The Hill, the announcement came after Van Drew met with the president in the Oval Office on Thursday, with the president teasing the press about a “very big announcement” before eventually revealing what the two had a conversation about.
Van Drew commented on the reason behind the rare party switch, saying he felt it was better suited for him in the political sense.
“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, Blue Dog Democrats or conservative Democrats. And I think that’s gone away,” Van Drew said.
Before Trump offered the newly-minted Republican his praise, Van Drew told the president, “You have my undying support. Always.”
Van Drew and Trump were joined by Vice President Mike Pence and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for the Oval Office meeting that also included the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, adviser Kellyanne Conway and chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
“I’m endorsing him, OK? We’re endorsing him. I can’t speak for these two gentlemen, but I can say I’m endorsing him,” Trump said of Van Drew, referring to McCarthy and Pence.
Van Drew was one of three Democrats who voted against impeaching Donald Trump on one or both articles of impeachment drafted against him. On the Republican side of the aisle, the entire party voted against impeaching the president on both article votes.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, amid reports of Van Drew’s potential party switch, which made the headlines over the weekend, a number of his top staffers sent his chief of staff a mass resignation letter in which they expressed their disapproval with the congressman’s decision to become a Republican.
The staffers wrote in their resignation letter that Van Drew’s decision “does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office” before expressing their disappointment.
Van Drew was initially questioned on Wednesday why he hadn’t yet switched parties prior to the historic House impeachment vote, to which he replied by explaining that since he first began considering impeachment as a Democrat that he felt compelled to vote on the matter as a Democrat.
According to Democratic aides, as a result of Van Drew leaving his party, he will automatically forfeit his position on the Democratic Caucus.