New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Republican who left the Democratic Party during the first Trump impeachment saga, told Fox News on Monday that his fellow moderate, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., should take a close look at all that his party is working to accomplish while they hold the majority in Washington.
Last month, Manchin torpedoed – at least temporarily – President Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda, taking issue with many aspects of the legislation including the multi-trillion-dollar cost.
Van Drew told "Your World" that he applauds Manchin's thoughtful consideration of the legislation that was otherwise being pushed hard by Democrat leaders like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
"I think that Joe has to take a look and see all of the other things that [the Democrats] want to do. Look at the BBB, what I call the Big Bad Bill – Look at what it does: It goes into people’s [financial] accounts. Anybody that spends more than $10,000, which is everyone. They’re going to hire 80,000 IRS agents and spend $800 billion," Van Drew said. "You have to be kidding me on the things that they want to do to change America."
Van Drew remarked that his change in party had a lot to do with Democrats push to impeach former President Trump, but that there was also "much, much more" beyond that concern.
"I have to think the people of West Virginia have to look at Joe Manchin and appreciate what he’s done but say there’s a lot more. It’s not just this one bill which is a horrific bill. I hope he doesn’t make any compromises on it," he said.
Fox host Charles Payne added that it is not unprecedented for lawmakers to change parties mid-tenure, pointing to three Democratic senators in the modern era – Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama and former Sens. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, all doing so.
More recently, former Vermont Republican Sen. Jim Jeffords became the first U.S. senator in history to effect a majority-minority party switch when he changed his affiliation to Independent in 2001 amid disagreements with the George W. Bush administration and the GOP caucus.
Jeffords caucused with the Democrats, which caused the title of majority leader to shift from former Republican Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., to former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D. If Manchin were to change parties, he in turn would flip the Senate back to a Republican majority.
Van Drew said the "sales pitch" to Democrats like Manchin is simple, "The Democratic Party has changed more and more. It’s leaving middle class America, it's leaving working America."
"Again, I didn’t really leave the Democratic Party – as has been said many times -- It left me," the Cape May lawmaker added. "I’d be willing to help – I know it’s a tough thing to do. It wasn’t tough for me at all in the end and the right thing to do and I feel better because of it."
Van Drew pointed to the growing list of Democrat-run cities being wracked by violence and overall crime surges, the continuing supply chain crisis and the party's apparent endeavor to prevent the United States from being energy independent and instead at the mercy of OPEC.
"The question is do you love America. I hope most of us do. Quite frankly there are people in the Democratic caucus – quite a number of them – don’t love the America that we know, the America that we believe in and the America that is a shining city on the hill and the America that is exceptional -- I can’t accept that. That’s why I left.
He continued, "We’re on our knees to China, Russia, Iran, we’re weaker in our military, our police have been demeaned and diminished. How would you want to stay in that party? I don’t understand it."