The first hour of the fourth and final night of the 2020 Republican National Convention featured some of President Donald Trump’s most unlikely supporters discussing why they now back his 2020 re-election bid.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey was among them, addressing the convention Thursday with remarks on his controversial decision to switch parties in the middle of a congressional term.
According to Van Drew, a former pro-life Democrat, the modern Democratic Party had become too “radical” in recent years for him to remain affiliated in good conscience.
Trump, however, had been more than willing to accommodate the congressman’s unique values in the Republican Party.
“I speak to you as a member of the Republican Party,” Van Drew said in opening. “But it always wasn’t that way. How I became a Republican says a lot about today’s Democratic Party.”
“I’m from South Jersey, where we work hard, look after our neighbors and care about our communities. Years ago, I was a local dentist and was asked by the Democrats to run for a town council seat. I had my doubts and I explained to them my views were middle-of-the-road to conservative,” the congressman added.
“But the local leaders said the Democratic Party was a big tent and that they accepted people like me.”
Rep. Jeff Van Drew: “There are a lot of Democrats who support our President and are disgusted for what their old party, what my old party, has become.” #RNC2020 https://t.co/5zxXNI8eVe pic.twitter.com/sR5U4j4rEp
— The Hill (@thehill) August 28, 2020
As Van Drew was elected to higher and higher office, however, eventually ending up in Washington D.C., he described noticing that “things were changing” within the party.
“The Democratic Party had become less accepting of American tradition, less believing in American exceptionalism, less supportive of traditional faith and family,” Van Drew said. “This was not the party that I knew.”
“The party had moved from liberal to radical,” the congressman added, describing the early days of his House tenure, which coincided with those of then-newly elected New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her far-left “squad.”
“This new Democratic Party wasn’t just for higher taxes. Now, they were for open borders, against our police and against our God-given rights,” he said.
Rumors swirled throughout House Democratic impeachment proceedings last December that Van Drew was considering a departure from the party.
It was not until after votes were cast and Van Drew had met with Trump in the Oval Office, however, that he officially switched parties.
“[Trump] made me feel more comfortable and welcome in the Oval Office than [Democratic Speaker of the House] Nancy Pelosi ever made me feel in her caucus,” Van Drew said.
He would go on to rebuke 2020 Democratic ticket from top to bottom, saying, “I’ve had enough with their radical, socialist agenda.”
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