Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who recently left the Democrat Party, acknowledged the hundreds who have lined up ahead of a Trump rally on Tuesday in the New Jersey congressman's district, saying Americans “love him, you can feel it out there.”
“There's something happening out there,” he said.
Van Drew, whose party switch stunned Washington last month, made the comments on “Fox & Friends” as large crowds formed in anticipation of the president’s "Keep America Great" rally in Wildwood, N.J., on the southern tip of the state. He noted that people are showing up with homemade signs and have been camping out.
Van Drew, who will be joining Trump at the rally, said “thousands and thousands of people” are showing up hours ahead of the 7 p.m. start time.
“Nobody ever thought,” he said on “Fox & Friends.”
“The president is doing well in so many places,” Van Drew noted, adding that when he met with him in Washington, D.C. last month he told Trump that South Jersey would be “proud” to host him.
“South Jersey has been forgotten sometimes,” Van Drew said on Tuesday.
“Everybody knows North Jersey, the suburbs of Manhattan etcetera, but South Jersey tends to be more rural, fishing, farming and certainly tourism, so I said to the president, 'South Jersey would be so proud to have you.'”
He added, “Without ever blinking an eye he said, ‘I will be there.’ He's a man of his word, we are going together and it is going to be a great day for South Jersey and it's going to be a great day for the United States of America. This is really exciting.”
Last month, Van Drew told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo that the Democrats' arguments for impeaching President Trump are “weak” and “thin” and lambasted his former party for bringing charges against the president.
The congressman said during an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that he had been mulling a switch to the GOP for a while, but impeachment was the tipping point.
“You cannot use impeachment as a tool that is political,” Van Drew said on Tuesday. “Impeachment is a very serious issue.”
He added, “Now we’re getting to set up a precedent where each time we don't like a president or a president does something that we don't care for, we are going to use impeachment that will destroy the republic, it's not good."
Van Drew admitted last month that if the House had not voted to impeach President Trump, he would have considered staying a Democrat.
He said Tuesday that “we have to move on.”
“I mean, my God, this has gone on for years now, it's cost millions of dollars, it's cost so much time, so much good work we could have gotten done that we haven't gotten done. I just feel like there's [sic] a lot of Americans that just feel like saying, ‘stop,’” he continued.
The party switch in the midst of Democrat-led impeachment proceedings against Trump caused members of Van Drew's caucus to accuse him of trying to save his bid for reelection. The move also led to the resignations of five aides from his office.
At the White House event with Trump to formally announce his switch to the Republican Party last month, Van Drew promised Trump his “undying support.” Van Drew noted on Tuesday that Trump, in exchange, announced during last month’s oval office meeting that he was endorsing the Democrat-turned-Republican for reelection and will again at the rally on Tuesday night.
“This is a flash point election. I want people to understand and really know this,” Van Drew said on Tuesday. “We are determining to a great degree at this time and in this place the future of this country.”
He asked, “Are we just going to go the route of where so many other countries are in almost socialistic type of countries? Or are we going to maintain that independence, that greatness, that exceptionalism, that Americanism that we have?
“I believe our president and most of our people want to maintain that,” Van Drew continued. “We've got generally a great stock market, a great economy, we have defended our country, we have a strong military, much stronger than it was before, we have so many things that have happened, whether it's making sure that even the agreements that we come up with, with other countries, don't hurt us all of the time the way they did.”
He said, given all those reasons, he thinks the “the president is going to do just fine” in the upcoming election.
Fox News Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.