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GOP lawmaker: Democratic Party 'used to be more moderate'

New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van DrewJeff Van DrewDemocrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? The Hill's Campaign Newsletter: Election Day – Part 4 Van Drew fends off challenge from Kennedy after party switch MORE (R) said Sunday the Democratic Party of which he used to be a member "used to be more moderate" but its views have trended toward the extreme in recent years.

Van Drew, who left the Democratic Party for the GOP in 2019 over the House vote to impeach President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE, said on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" that his former party was "going towards a socialist bent," despite the defeat of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Overnight Defense: Defense bill among Congress's year-end scramble | Iranian scientist's assassination adds hurdles to Biden's plan on nuclear deal | Navy scrapping USS Bonhomme Richard after fire Biden faces new Iran challenges after nuclear scientist killed MORE (I-Vt.) in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

"The Democratic Party used to be more moderate. It is not now. It has changed. It is a new party," he told host Maria BartiromoMaria Sara BartiromoWisconsin formally declares Biden won election following recount GOP lawmaker says he's been called a 'traitor' by people close to him for recognizing Biden win Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report MORE.

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"And it is not just political rhetoric, Maria, to say that much of the party is really going towards a socialist bent. They really are," the New Jersey congressman added.

During the interview Van Drew also slammed Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases House Democrats urge congressional leaders to support .1B budget for IRS Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE (D-Calif.) for her repeated reference to the coronavirus as the "Trump virus," a response to the president's own nicknames for the virus including the "China virus" and the "kung flu," for which the president has faced accusations of racism.

"[F]or her to say that is absolutely outrageous, when we know it was China that didn't give us the information, China that wouldn't let the CDC come in. It was China, God knows, that influenced the [World Health Organization] to give the wrong information out," said Van Drew.

The newly-minted member of the GOP won his party's primary last month and is now headed for a showdown in November with Democratic candidate Amy Kennedy, a former teacher, in November. His district is rated as "lean Republican" by the Cook Political Report.