(FOX) — Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., defended on Sunday his exit from the Democratic Party after he voted against both articles of impeachment – calling the Democrats’ arguments for impeaching President Trump “weak” and “thin.”
Van Drew, who last week met with Trump following the congressman’s announcement that he was joining the Republican Party, said during an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that he has been mulling over a switch to the GOP for a while, but impeachment was the tipping point for the former Democrat.
“There has always been something in my career that let me know it’s time for a change,” Van Drew said. “I feel good…I feel I did the honorable thing.”
Rumblings of a possible party switch in the midst of Democrat-led impeachment proceedings against Trump caused members of Van Drew’s caucus to accuse him of clamoring to cross the aisle in an attempt to save his bid for reelection and led to the resignations of five aides from his office.
A recent internal poll conducted for the Democrats found that 58 percent of primary voters in Van Drew’s 2nd Congressional District wanted to nominate another candidate, while only 28 percent said he should be renominated.
“The final sign for me was, oddly enough, when one of the county chairmen said ‘you have to vote for impeachment,’” Van Drew said. “And that ‘If you don’t, you won’t be able to run in my county.’ It’s not his county, it’s everybody’s county.”
Van Drew went on to call charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress that were leveled against Trump “weak” and “thin” and lambasted his former fellow Democrats for bringing them against the president.
“This impeachment is a weak, thin impeachment,” he said. “It’s been a long, dark shadow on our country.”
“We are supposed to be there for the American people and not for political bickering,” Van Drew said. “It harms our country and it fractures us more.”
It remains to be seen how Van Drew will vote on legislation now that he is officially a Republican. Out of 659 votes in the 116th Congress, Van Drew and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have agreed only 300 times.
As a Democrat, Van Drew voted to override Trump’s veto of a bill that overturned his emergency declaration for border wall funding and voted to block Trump from withdrawing from the Paris Climate Change Accord.
He has also voted to block the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and disapproved of the Trump administration’s plan to lift sanctions on three Russian companies.
In addition, Van Drew has condemned comments Trump made about four congresswomen that the president dubbed “The Squad,” calling the remarks racist and has pushed back on Trump’s attempts to direct courts to invalidate the Affordable Care Act.
“I want to bring people together,” Van Drew said. “I always push for what I believe is right and what is best.”