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Democrat switches sides after Trump impeachment vote

'I believe that this is just a better fit for me,' says newly-Republican congressman Jeff Van Drew

Michael Hernandez   | 20.12.2019
Democrat switches sides after Trump impeachment vote

WASHINGTON 

A Democrat who just hours earlier voted against impeaching President Donald Trump formally switched parties Thursday as Trump hailed him during an Oval Office sit-down.

“I believe that this is just a better fit for me,” said congressman Jeff Van Drew. "This is who I am. It's who I always was. But there was more tolerance of moderate Democrats, of blue dog Democrats, of conservative Democrats. And I think that's going away."

During brief remarks to reporters, he pledged his "undying support" for Trump, following through on expectations that he would be switching parties after he cast his vote against impeachment as a Democrat.

Trump also pledged his unending support and endorsement, saying he was "very fortunate" that Van Drew cast his vote in opposition alongside all Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Van Drew was among a tiny contingent of Democrats who did not support impeaching Trump on obstruction of Congress and abuse of power charges.

Only two House Democrats crossed party lines in advancing the abuse of power charge through the federal legislature in a 230-197 vote.

The obstruction vote saw three Democrats stand in opposition in a second 229-198 vote. After voting for the abuse of power article, Congressman Jared Golden joined Van Drew and Collin Peterson in opposition.

Trump is now just the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

The House had previously voted only twice on articles of impeachment against a sitting president. Presidents Andrew Johnson (1868) and Bill Clinton (1998) were acquitted in Senate trials.

Richard Nixon stepped down from office in 1974 to avoid his removal as part of the Watergate scandal.

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