Six staffers for New Jersey Representative Jeff Van Drew have resigned following reports that their boss plans to switch from the Democratic to the Republican party due to his opposition to impeachment.
Running as a Democrat in 2018, Van Drew won a district carried by President Trump in the 2016 elections. The congressman has consistently opposed the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry into the president, and was one of only two Democrats to vote against continuing the inquiry in October.
“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,” read a letter signed by five aides to the congressman.
Van Drew’s director of constituency relations CeCe Doherty, a staffer who was not included among the signatories of the letter, also reportedly resigned on Sunday.
“Defeating Trump has and always will be the main goal for me,” Doherty said in comments to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s the reason I got involved in politics. I could not, in good conscience, continue working in an office where mutual morals and values were no longer present.”
Van Drew’s opposition to impeachment has cost him support within his district’s Democratic party apparatus. Internal polling showed 71 percent of Democratic primary voters would be less likely to support the congressman if he voted against impeachment.
President Trump on Sunday welcomed the news of Van Drew’s probable departure from the Democratic party.
“Wow, that would be big,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Always heard Jeff is very smart!”