Trump Praises ‘Very Popular’ Congressman for Party Switch

December 17, 2019 Updated: December 17, 2019

President Donald Trump praised a congressman who reportedly is changing parties, switching to the GOP from being a Democrat.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) has been highly critical of the impeachment inquiry against Trump and was one of two Democrats to vote against formalizing the impeachment process.

“Congressman Jeff Van Drew is very popular in our great and very united Republican Party. It was a tribute to him that he was able to win his heavily Republican district as a Democrat,” Trump said on Twitter early Dec. 17.

“People like that are not easily replaceable!”

Trump also shared a twitter message from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) earlier in the week.

“Hmm. Not sure, when Pelosi began this partisan show trial, that she envisioned it being so bad that it would drive House Dems—from New Jersey, no less—to switch parties,” Cruz wrote, responding to a report that Van Drew is switching parties.

Van Drew, 66, is a first-term member of Congress after winning a district won by Trump in 2016.

He hasn’t confirmed the party switch but is expected to formalize the change later this week. The House is expected to vote on whether to impeach Trump on Dec. 18.

Van Drew
Then-Rep.-elect Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) speaks to members of the media outside a closed House Democrats organizational meeting at Longworth House Office Building in Washington on Nov. 28, 2018. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

At least five Van Drew staffers announced their resignations over the weekend after reports indicated the planned party switch.

The staffers told Van Drew’s chief of staff, Allison Murphy, about their exodus in a letter that reads: “Van Drew’s decision to join the ranks of the Republican Party led by Donald Trump does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office.

“Over the past year, Trump Republicans have sided with special interests over the needs of working people. Worse, they continue to aid and abet Trump as he shreds the Constitution and tears the country apart. They have refused to grapple with how the President of the United States has jeopardized our national security for his own political advantage.”

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that the committee would hire the staffers “until they land new jobs that align with their values.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber