A group of centrist Democrats ejected Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., from its ranks Tuesday, voting to rescind his membership "indefinitely," as he is likely to switch over to the GOP, a senior aide to the Blue Dog Coalition told Fox News.
Van Drew's ousting from the coalition follows the resignations of five aides from Van Drew's office Sunday. They said they could no longer work for the congressman as he looks to make the jump across the aisle.
"Sadly, Congressman Van Drew's decision to join the ranks of the Republican Party led by Donald Trump does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office," the aides wrote in a letter addressed to Van Drew's chief of staff, Allison Murphy.
The congressman told reporters Tuesday that the exodus of aides was dictated to them by nameless officials who threatened that they would never hold another position in the Democratic Party if they did not resign, according to Politico.
“They were told to,” Van Drew claimed, adding: “They had to or they wouldn’t work again.”
Van Drew didn't specify if he knew that any threats were made to the aides, but said “it would be very hard for them to work” if they stayed with him after he switched parties.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who reportedly has tried to convince Van Drew to join the GOP, said he has sent some of his staffers to assist Van Drew temporarily as he deals with the loss of personnel.
"We believe in helping people," McCarthy said, according to Roll Call.
The Blue Dog Coalition told Fox News on Tuesday that it ousted the congressman after reports he was considering switching political parties.
“Per our by laws, which require all members to be a member of the Democratic Party, Congressman Van Drew is no longer a member of the Blue Dog Coalition,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and co-chair of the Coalition, told Fox News.
Van Drew has been one of only two Democrats to vote against formalizing the impeachment inquiry against President Trump and has been an outspoken critic of the probe from the start. The House is expected to vote on two articles of impeachment on Wednesday.
The freshman represents a southern New Jersey district that Trump carried in 2016 and was expected to face a difficult reelection next year.
He has not formally announced that he is switching parties, but has instead said: "People kind of know that I'm going in a direction, but I haven’t announced anything."