Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ) made waves when he decided to leave the Democratic Party and become a Republican. He joined Fox News' Maria Bartiromo on "Sunday Morning Futures" to discuss the final straw that caused him to say goodbye to the party he once was associated with.
"We spoke on the phone the other day and you said, 'You know, Maria, I always look for signs.' There was a sign, something in you that said I'm not comfortable here," Bartiromo said. "Tell me how you came to this decision to leave the majority, the Democrats, and become a Republican congressman."
According to Van Drew, he knew the party was moving further and further to the left and was on the verge of becoming a socialist party but he's "a proud capitalist" that "believe[s] in hard work" and giving people the opportunity to success.
The "final sign," as he describes it, was a conversation that took place with a local politician In his home district. The man told Van Drew he absolutely "had to" vote for impeachment, otherwise there was no way he would win re-election.
"The final sign for me was, oddly enough, actually in my home county, when one of the county chairmen, and I have eight counties, one of the county chairmen came to me and said, 'I have to speak with you.' And I said sure and sat down. He said, 'I just want to let you know that you have to vote for impeachment.' And I said, 'What do you mean?' And he said, 'You've got to vote for impeachment. If you don't you're not going to be able to run in my county,'" Van Drew explained. "Well, first of all, it's not his county, it's our county. 'And you're not going to be able to move forward. You're not going to get the line,' which is a big deal in New Jersey. 'And you're not going to be successful.'"
That's when it clicked for him.
"And I, first of all, I still could've run and I still could've gotten the line and I could've fought it out. I fought a lot of things in my life and I fought hard to be where I am. But it made me think, for all the years that I've worked so hard and tried to give so much, not only to the party but to everybody, the things that we've done, and I won't go into them, but many, many infrastructure projects and helping people and all the services that we try to give people in our offices and it all boils down to one vote that I may have my own individual opinion on one vote and that’s not going to be allowed?" he asked. "I'm going to be punished for that? And that's when I knew. I had been thinking about it for a while and I said, and you know, I was speaking to my chief of staff about this and I said to her, I said, 'You know, there's always been in my career and over time, something that happens that lets you know that it is time to make a change.' And this was it."
Although we knew the Congressman was going to vote against the articles of impeachment, he said he has no regrets about his decision.
"How I feel today is I feel good. I feel that I did the honorable thing," he said. "I feel that I did what was right for me and right for the country."
Van Drew said what most of us have known for awhile: the Democrats' impeachment case against President Trump is not only weak but the American people are tired of it.
"I really believe folks are tired of it. They’re tired of the hours and hours and hours of time that has been spent on it, they’re tired of the millions of dollars that have been spent on it, and they want to move forward," he said.
Specifically, he believes the American people want to see Congress take action on a variety of issues, like election security, health care for veterans and Medicare.
"We are there to work for the American people and not to have constant political bickering and to come up with a weak impeachment. And, you know, most importantly, we must understand what impeachment is. It almost never happens for a reason," the Congressman explained. "Other than declaring war, it is the most serious issue that America – and action – that America could ever, ever take, and it harms our country. It fractions us apart. It makes us more... literally creates more civil unrest. It creates more unhurt. I want to bring people together. Let’s bring Americans together.
Although critics have asked how they can trust Van Drew since he abandoned the Democratic Party, his voting record shows that he is an independent mind. Bartiromo pointed out that he voted "to override President Trump’s veto of a bill that overturned his emergency declaration of border wall funding" and on another bill "to block President Trump from withdrawing from the Paris Climate Change."
"I always pushed for what I believed was right and what I believed was best," he said.
The Congressman touted his ability to lure both Republicans and Democrats alike, with many from both party voting for him over the years.
Bartiromo mentioned Van Drew previously quoting Reagan, saying that he didn't leave the Democratic Party, that the Democratic Party left him. And that is something the Congressman believes has to do with American exceptionalism.
"So, you know, I speak about America exceptionalism a lot. For those that are not really familiar with it, it means that America is a truly unique nation, that it is the greatest nation in the world, that we have so much potential, and we are the leaders of the free world, and that we are leaders in general," he explained. "And I have Democrats come to me that say, 'That’s wrong. We’re the same as any other country in the world.' They’re wrong. That’s not true."