Ex-Democrat Van Drew speaks at GOP convention
GOP Rep. Jeff Van Drew (N.J.), who defected from the Democratic Party last year, spoke at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, explaining his party-switch and seeking to boost President Trump.
Van Drew, who was elected to the House as a Democrat in the 2018 “blue wave” and was a member of the party for nearly 30 years, tore into the Democratic Party as one that was becoming “radical.”
“I was elected to Council as a Democrat, but as I won seats for county office, state legislature and then Congress, I noticed things were changing — the Democrat Party had become less accepting of American tradition, less believing in American exceptionalism, less supportive of traditional faith and family,” he said. “This was not the party that I knew.”
Van Drew said he was immediately uncomfortable with the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the rise of progressive lawmakers, and that he faced pressure to vote in support of Trump’s impeachment.
“In 2018 after being elected to Congress as a Democrat, I was already uncomfortable with a San Francisco liberal running the House, which is why my first vote in Congress was cast against Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. But imagine how I felt after seeing members of The Squad quickly take control of the Democrat Party just weeks after being elected,” he said. “The party had moved from liberal to radical.”
“This new Democrat Party wasn’t just for higher taxes. Now they were for open borders, against our police and against our God-given rights,” the New Jersey lawmaker added. “When the radical Democrats went after President Trump with impeachment, they made another mistake: Democrat leaders told me that I had to vote for impeachment or my life would be made difficult, and I wouldn’t be allowed to run again.”
Van Drew went on to praise Trump’s tenure in office, saying the White House has advocated for a string of policies to boost the military, law enforcement and more.
“Republicans, independents, and even Democrats, they all know that in President Trump’s America, we have a strong military, strong support for our police, strong support for our Veterans and Seniors,” he said. “In President Trump’s America, we have a strong supply chain, good schools, we’re energy independent and protect our environment.”
The remarks praising Trump come as Van Drew faces a stiff challenge from Democrat Amy Kennedy in his south Jersey district. Polling has shown a margin-of-error race in one of the Democrat’s top offensive targets, and the Cook Political Report rates the race as a “toss up.”