WASHINGTON — Jeff Van Drew, a New Jersey Democrat who has spoken out against impeaching President Donald Trump, will reportedly abandon the Democratic Party just days before the House of Representatives will vote to impeach the president.
Van Drew is said to have met with President Donald Trump on Friday and is set to make the announcement in the coming days, according to the Washington Post. The House vote to impeach Trump is expected to take place midweek.
Van Drew’s chief of staff and communication’s director did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not comment. Van Drew has been vocal in his decision to split with Democrats on impeachment and in an interview this past Thursday, he told BuzzFeed News Democrats’ decision to move forward with impeachment guarantees a Trump 2020 reelection.
“One of his major electoral points to win election is going to be the fact that he was impeached and was found not guilty,” he said. Van Drew said he would have preferred censuring.
“Yes, because that's the way you tell somebody ‘Hey, you really screwed up here, and you're not just going to get away with it.’”
The first-term lawmaker defeated his Republican challenger in 2018, giving Democrats a win in the longtime Republican district. Recent internal Democratic polling obtained by BuzzFeed News showed that 71% of his constituents said they would be less likely to support Van Drew in a Democratic primary should he vote against impeachment.
Van Drew along with Rep. Collin Peterson were the only two Democrats to oppose formalizing the impeachment inquiry in October.
One of Van Drew's Democratic consultants vowed on Twitter that he would "do everything" to beat Van Drew in November.
Another Democratic source spoke to BuzzFeed News on the condition of anonymity slammed Van Drew as an "NRA favorite" and said his move "has nothing to do with impeachment and everything to with a politician who hasn’t delivered for his constituents.”