Former Democrat and now Republican Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, switched parties over the impeachment of Donald Trump. He said on Tuesday, when he joined Fox News’ “American’s Newsroom,” that he openly invited Joe Manchin (D-WVA) to join his party and said, “He would be happier in the Republican Party.”
Unnamed sources around the West Virginia senator have fueled rumors that he may leave the Democratic Party, likely to become an Independent, after he doomed the passage of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act.
Van Drew said, “I don’t know that Manchin will switch parties, I sure hope that he will, and I surely invite him to come into our party. I really believe he would be happier in the Republican Party. What’s happened to Joe Manchin is in some ways similar to what happen to me, you know, I wouldn’t vote for impeachment and I was beaten up by leadership in Washington, the leadership back in the district.”
“In fact, the last thing that was said to me, and I’ll never forget it, is ‘you will obey’ and I was threatened. And just like Joe Manchin’s from West Virginia, I’m from New Jersey and let me tell you, you don’t say that.”
In December of 2019 Van Drew announced his intent to switch parties, in light of the House’s vote for the impeachment of the former president. The New Jersey representative was one of two House Democrats to vote against impeachment, along with Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson. He called the “unconstitutional” impeachment the “final straw” before resigning.
Van Drew said, “I belong in the Republican Party, it’s a party that basically, no party’s perfect, does care about America, cares about our future, and does not want to make us a socialist, Marxist state. The changes in this Democrat Party now is so remarkable, and not in a good way.”
Van Drew agrees with Manchin’s decision to vote against Build Back Better, saying the legislation will “change the very structure” of the country. He also criticized the treatment of those disagreeing with their party, as Manchin has received backlash from other Democrat members.
“People are pressed and pushed into voting even in ways that they don’t want to. You see that in the House of Representatives all the time. There will be a bad bill that goes through, I’ll vote ‘no,’ other Republicans will vote ‘no.’ I’ll talk to a few of my moderate Democratic friends that are over there and say ‘why’ did you vote for that? I know you kind of well and I know you don’t believe it,” Van Drew continued.
“And they’ll say ‘yeah, we just kind of had to.’ That’s not good government. That’s not America. That’s not what we believe in.”
Manchin has cited concerns about inflation, the supply chain crisis and the national debt as key reasons for opposing the bill. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates found that Build Back Better would raise the debt by $367 billion over a ten-year period, and add approximately $3 trillion if certain programs remain permanent.
Left-wing members of Congress have called on the legislation to be brought forward for a vote on the Senate floor.
Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said, “If Senator Manchin wants to vote against the Build Back Better Act, he should have the opportunity to do so with a floor vote as soon as the Senate returns.”