U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-2), the Democrat who became a Republican sooner than back the impeachment of President Donald Trump, appeared onstage tonight in support of Trump at the Republican National Convention, where he denounced what he described as “the Democrats’ radical, socialist agenda.”
Van Drew described his path to the GOP.
“How I became a Republican says a lot about today’s Democratic Party,” he said. “I’m from South Jersey, where we work hard, look after our neighbors, and care about our communities.”
He looked back at the time when, as a local dentist, Democrats asked him to run for local office.
He insists now that he had his doubts then but stuck with the Democrats when they assured him theirs was a “big tent party.”
Over the years, Van Drew – who as a state senator routinely struck deals during budget season with then-Republican Governor Chris Christie – said the Democratic Party became “less accepting of traditional faith and family.”
He was horrified, he insisted, when “a San Francisco liberal” ended up running the House as speaker (Nancy Pelosi).
His first vote as a congressman, he reminded viewers, was to cast a vote against a Pelosi speakership.
“The party had moved from liberal to radical,” Van Drew said, remembering the feeling of being told to vote for “impeachment or else.”
“I’m from South Jersey,” said the congressman, who changed party affiliation earlier this year. “You better come at me with more than loud words and empty threats. [President] Trump made me feel more comfortable in the oval office than Nancy Pelosi ever made me feel in the Democratic caucus.”
(Democratic Presidential nominee) Joe Biden is being told what to do and say, Van Drew said, and would be a “puppet” president.
Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Michael Suleiman was unimpressed by the appearance at the RNC by his former ally.
The chairman released the following statement on Congressman Van Drew’s speech at the Republican National Convention:
“Tonight, low-energy Jeff Van Drew showed us once again that he is a political charlatan. He pledged ‘undying support’ for Donald Trump just days after he told affluent donors he would never vote for Trump in an effort to get campaign cash. Tonight just reaffirmed for me that I’m going to do everything I can to make Jeff Van Drew a one-term congressman. I ask Democrats all across South Jersey to join me in electing Amy Kennedy to Congress.”
Kennedy, the Democratic nominee for Congress in NJ-2, zapped Van Drew ahead of his address with a digitial ad, and afterwards made the following statement in response to
her rival appearing on the national GOP stage:
“Tonight, as political payback for switching parties and pledging his undying support to Donald Trump, Jeff Van Drew took the stage at the Republican National Convention and tried to make the case as to why he made that choice. My message to the people of South Jersey is…don’t be fooled. The truth is that Jeff has changed. He made the choice to abandon the people of South Jersey to serve his own political career instead of the families he was elected to represent. Jeff Van Drew talks about American exceptionalism, but exceptionalism doesn’t come from playing politics or making speeches, it comes from compassion, from unity and community, from hard working people and from fighting for what’s right. Now more than ever leadership and integrity matter. When I’m in Congress, I will always fight to put working families and small businesses first. I will fight for access to affordable healthcare and an economy that works for everyone. I will fight to make sure that all voices are heard and valued, and I will never pledge my undying support to anyone other than the people of South Jersey.”