Congressman Jeff Van Drew (NJ-D) has spent a lot of time appearing on Fox News in the past few months, raising questions about whether he’s got a larger strategy with his no impeachment stance.
By David Todd McCarty | Monday, December 9, 2019
It’s not terribly unusual for a Democrat to go on Fox News, but it’s typically to defend a member of their own party, or a policy decision, not to defend a Republican against charges of abuse of power, corruption, bribery and obstruction of justice.
But that is precisely what the freshman Congressman from New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District, Jeff Van Drew, has been doing since Speaker Pelosi announced that the House was launching an Impeachment investigation.
He has gone on Fox News multiple times in the past few weeks and months to defend his stance and to voice his opposition to impeaching the President. His main argument is that impeachment is a waste of time and that it’s tearing the country apart.
He has often hedged his bet, saying he isn’t defending the President, but hasn’t seen anything to suggest that the President should be removed from office.
This stance has drawn praise from President Trump with the Philadelphia Inquirer stating that “New Jersey’s Jeff Van Drew is becoming Trump’s favorite Democrat.”
To date, President Trump hasn’t had a favorite Democrat, let alone one he liked even a little, so it’s eyebrow-raising that Trump would call out Van Drew. Trump was quick to tweet his praise for Van Drew, saying, “Congressman Van Drew (D-NJ) SLAMS Democrats for ‘fracturing the Nation’ with Impeachment probe. ‘We already know how it’s going to end.”
“Congressman Van Drew (D-NJ) SLAMS Democrats for ‘fracturing the Nation’ with Impeachment probe. ‘We already know how it’s going to end.” @FoxNews— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2019
“This has nothing to do with whether you like Donald Trump, or don’t like him, or want to see him have a second term or win in an election,” Van Drew said in one Fox News appearance. “This has to do with the institution of impeachment itself and not misusing it. People make the decisions in America, people vote. We have elections. We have less than a year to go ahead and do that.”
New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District (CD2) is one of two New Jersey congressional races rated as a “toss-up” by the Cook Political Report. Republicans held the seat for more than two decades before Van Drew won it in 2018 after Frank LoBiondo retired.
But if progressive Democrats held their nose and voted for the conservative Democrat in 2018, since he’s been in the House, their ire has bubbled over. Now they’re out for blood.
Multiple groups including United Progressive Democrats, Real Democrats of CD2, and various other Democrat Clubs have come out against Van Drew and have threatened primary challenges. According to various sources, there are several candidates considering primary runs and progressive groups are organizing around a challenge to Van Drew.
….we are going to have an Election very shortly.” Rep. Jeff Van Drew, Democrat of New Jersey. @foxandfriends Thank you. Just another Witch Hunt by Nancy Pelosi and the Do Nothing Democrats!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
“People are pissed,” said one activist. “Everyone is tired of carrying water for him. He’s not a true Democrat, and we need someone who represents our values, not someone who protects the ‘Criminal In Charge.’”
Van Drew spent years in various elected offices in South Jersey, most recently as a State Senator in New Jersey before running for Congress. But he spent all his time in the reliably conservative 1st Legislative District before taking over the Congressional seat in the 2nd Congressional District which has a slight Democratic edge. It’s a different story.
There are rumors of a challenge by Brigid Harrison, a Montclair State University professor and close ally of Democratic power broker and establishment king-maker, George Norcross, as well as from various candidates from the progressive wing of the party.
No one has announced their candidacy yet, although there is a lot of chatter.
Michael Suleiman, chairman of the Atlantic County Democrats, expressed in a letter to Van Drew his desire to see him vote for impeachment.
“Candidly, if he votes for impeachment, it will go a long way for a lot of people,” Suleiman said.
Harrison said Van Drew’s no vote on proceeding with an impeachment inquiry has angered many in the Democratic Party, who have encouraged her to run.
“A lot of folks in other parts of the district are upset. And it’s not just the progressive wing of the party. A lot of rank-and-file Democrats are disappointed,” Suleiman said.
So the question remains. Is Van Drew looking for an exit strategy, one that includes a higher profile in the Trump White House? It’s not out of the realm of possibilities and there are rumors of just that very thing. The whispering is getting louder that Van Drew is looking to move up in the world, and he sees Donald Trump as his ticket out of New Jersey.
Van Drew would join a long list of Fox News Contributors who have interviewed for the President by appearing on Fox News. They include State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauret, Sebastian Gorka, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, former National Security Advisor John Bolton, White House director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp, Ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown, US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, assistant to National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, K.T. MacFarland, Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh, and Lea Gabrielle, the State Department’s special envoy for the Global Engagement Center.
If you want to get the attention of the President we know there are two things you can do. One, defend and praise the President. Two, appear on Fox News.
Jeff Van Drew appears to be doing both.