The Washington Post reported the news Sunday after Rep. Van Drew spent weeks criticizing the impeachment inquiry into Trump. Earlier this month, Van Drew told CNN that he was planning to vote against every single article of impeachment unless there was something he hadn’t seen.
Brigid Callahan Harrison, who seems primed to run against Van Drew after his pro-Trump stances set off opposition to his re-election, blasted him for the move to The Washington Post.
“He may think this is a politically expedient move and that Republican voters will embrace him,” Harrison said. “I think Republicans, Democrats and independents all recognize a traitor and value loyalty. And I don’t think that a politically motivated decision is the right way to go when our constitutional democracy is a stake.”
While Van Drew has consistently defended Trump against impeachment, calling the process too divisive before an election, he’s also mostly voted with Democrats on major party bills. The Washington Post reported that three Democratic officials confirmed he was planning to switch parties, and two said he told his staff of his plan on Saturday.
.@CongressmanJVD has chosen his political career over our Constitution. Despite knowing full well that the President has abused the powers of his office, he's now willing to enable Donald Trump just to try to salvage his own election.— Phil Murphy (@PhilMurphyNJ) December 15, 2019
House Democrats in other pro-Trump districts have not said how they will vote on impeachment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) was reportedly hesitant to move forward on impeachment, concerned about how it would be received in Democratic districts with high rates of Trump supporters. But as the impeachment process moves forward, Democrats have also been working in an unusually bipartisan fashion, helping move several bills through Congress in the last few weeks.
Previously, Van drew had denied any intention to switch parties. He told reporters and a town hall crowd repeatedly that he had no intention of changing parties. But as the news broke this weekend, Van Drew and his office have not shot down the reports or responded to requests for comment. Both New Jersey Republicans and Democrats have criticized the news.
“Jeff Van Drew has chosen his political career over our Constitution,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said. “Congressman Van Drew has long voted against core Democratic values. Betraying our party by siding with Donald Trump is the final straw, as grassroots activists, local party leaders in his district, and I have made clear in recent weeks.”