Only NJ Democrat Against Impeaching Trump is Flipping Parties
The only Democrat among New Jersey's congressional delegation to not support the impeachment process against President Donald Trump has changed his mind about being a Democrat, according to several reports.
“Jeff Van Drew’s decision to switch parties is a betrayal to every voter who supported him in 2018 – Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated," state Senate President Steve Sweeney said in a written statement Sunday.
Politico reported Saturday that Van Drew was expected to switch parties and become a Republican, following a meeting with Trump on Friday.
"Wow, that would be big. Always heard Jeff is very smart!" President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday, along with the link to a Washington Post article about the anticipated switch by the Cape May County politician.
Sweeney vowed to defeat Van Drew on election day.
"We flipped the 2nd District from Republican to Democrat last year and we will do it again next year," he said.
Sweeney said he was joined by every county chairman in New Jersey's 2nd Congressional District in condemning Van Drew's decision to flip party affiliation.
As Van Drew recently maintained his stance as the only Democratic representative against impeachment, state politicians urged him to reconsider. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Michael Suleiman wrote a letter imploring Van Drew "to vote in favor of impeachment.”
In an interview with USA Today last week, Van Drew said that he was concerned about the nation being split apart and added that "I don't see anything there worthy of actually taking a president out of office."
"I'm concerned about splitting our nation apart," he was quoted as saying.
Van Drew was one of two Democrats who in October voted against opening the impeachment inquiry into Trump.
The only Republican in the New Jersey delegation, 4th District U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, also voted against the impeachment inquiry. Smith has not publicly commented on any of the impeachment process.
"Jeff Van Drew owes an apology to all those who endorsed and supported him," U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J. 1st District, said in a written statement Sunday.
"I was one of the earliest people in Congress to back an impeachment inquiry years ago because we must act to defend our democracy. Whatever party he claims to represent, Van Drew is just plain wrong to support Trump’s corrupt actions," Norcross also said.
U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J. 12th District, released a statement on Tuesday saying the articles of impeachment that were announced that day “lay out the danger of leaving Donald Trump in office. We must impeach him because he is a threat to our national security and our democracy.”
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J. 9th District, has called for opening an impeachment inquiry of Trump since late May.
In August, U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr., D-10th District, said: “After reading the 10 specific cases of obstruction of justice outlined in the Mueller report, I think there is more than enough evidence to support the impeachment of Pres. Donald Trump based on a Constitutional violation of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
U.S. Rep Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J. 6th District, previously said in September that "it's time for Congress to exercise its constitutional authority and impeach the president in order to protect the rule of law and our democracy."
U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J. 8th District, in September called for Congress to begin an impeachment inquiry, saying developments over the Ukraine issue had raised the urgency level. “These direct violations of the law, and egregious abuses of power, must be treated like the national security threats that they are,” Sires said in a written statement.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J. 3rd District, who defeated a GOP incumbent, released a statement in September that said that “by urging the Ukrainian government to take action to influence our democracy, Trump has violated that power and the trust of the American people. If the facts are corroborated, that violation, and my understanding of its implications, has led me to come to the conclusion that the President has committed an impeachable offense."
U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J. 11th District, was among seven freshmen Democrats in Congress to sign an op-ed published in September by the Washington Post, which supported impeachment hearings for Trump. Sherrill is in a heavily Republican district.
U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., 7th District, another freshman Democrat who defeated a GOP incumbent, also ratcheted up his support of an impeachment inquiry over the fall. On Sept. 21, Malinowski tweeted: “There's a huge leap from a candidate saying 'Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find Hillary's emails' to a president using his awesome powers to extort a foreign government to help him win an election.”
The same Twitter thread also said, “If we hesitate to impeach a president for this, we might as well pass an amendment removing the impeachment clause from the Constitution, and become a popular, not constitutional, republic.”
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., 5th District, issued a statement in September that said that "the serious allegations that have surfaced about communication between President Trump and the Ukrainian President put our national security at risk and merit an immediate inquiry. We must let the facts guide our work. Given the gravity of this moment, I will base my final judgment on whether impeachment is warranted on the information garnered through this inquiry, not on hearsay, social media, or conflicting news accounts."
According to Politico last week, the moderate Gottheimer was among several Democrats in the House that were trying to gain support for censuring President Trump instead of impeaching him.
Both of New Jersey's Democratic U.S. Senators, Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, backed the impeachment inquiry this fall. Booker has been on-record calling for impeachment proceedings since the summer, shortly after launching his democratic presidential campaign.