FIRST ON FOX: The congressman who left the Democratic Party three years ago to join the GOP commended former Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for leaving the party as well, saying that moderate Democrats “don’t exist anymore.”
Rep. Jeff Van DrewRN.J., commended Gabbard for her departure, saying in a statement to Fox News Digital that Democrats who love America have no other choice than to leave the party.
“I commend her for doing it, but anyone that loves our country has no choice but to leave. The Democrat party does not represent American values,” Van Drew said.
TULSI GABBARD LEAVES DEMOCRATIC PARTY, DENOUNCES IT AS ‘ELITIST CABAL’
“They represent the destruction of America,” Van Drew continued. “I am glad others are following in my footsteps.”
Van Drew left the Democratic Party in 2019, switching to the GOP after voting against impeaching former President Trump.
Gabbard ditched the Democrats in a fiery fashion on the first episode of her new podcast, “The Tulsi Gabbard Show,” posted Tuesday morning.
The New Jersey Republican said the reaction to his departure from the Democrats was “much more vitriolic” compared to how Gabbard’s exit has been received thus far and said that moderate members of the blue party no longer exist.
“I left the Democrat party three years ago and was an elected official,” Van Drew said. “Democrats were also much more popular at the time and the reaction to my announcement that I would be leaving the party was much more vitriolic.”
“Today, moderate Democrats don’t exist anymore,” the former Democrat said.
While Gabbard has not announced plans to join another political party, Van Drew said he is “happy to welcome anyone if they want to join the Republican Party as long as they aren’t going to be weak.”
“To be honest, I am not sure what’s taking some people so long to get out at this point,” Van Drew said.
The New Jersey Republican told Fox News Digital he has not heard any rumblings of the GOP courting Gabbard to join, and restated he will “welcome anyone to the GOP who will fight for a strong America.”
Other Republicans reacted to Gabbard’s departure from the blue party, with House Republican Conference chairwoman Elise Stefanik of New York telling Fox News Digital that the now-former Democrat got out of the party after seeing “the writing on the wall.”
“There is no denying the Democrat Party is more focused on their far left woke agenda than supporting hardworking Americans,” Stefanik said. “One-party Democrat rule has done nothing but deliver crises for the American people, and Tulsi Gabbard sees the writing on the wall.”
“She knows Americans will reject this radical agenda, and there will be an overwhelming red wave this November,” she continued.
Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., said he wasn’t surprised to see Gabbard go from the Democrats, quipping that she is “way too normal” for the people running the party.
“I’m not surprised to hear that Tulsi left the Democrats – she is a great colleague and a good American,” Scott said. “She’s way too normal for the clowns running that circus.”
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., who shares a close friendship with Gabbard, told Fox News Digital, “Tulsi’s assessment of today’s far-Left Democrat party is right on target with the sentiment of the American people.”
“Millions of freedom-loving Americans like Tulsi are rejecting the liberal socialist agenda that is ruining our nation’s future,” the Oklahoma Senate candidate continued. “Tulsi Gabbard is a true patriot, and I’m proud to call her a friend and a sister.”
In her video announcement, Gabbard blasted the Democratic Party as being controlled by “an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness” who are dividing Americans “by racializing every issue” and stoking “anti-white racism.”
Gabbard also called on other moderate Democrats to leave the party in the video.
“I believe in a government that is of the people, by the people and for the people. Unfortunately, today’s Democratic Party does not. Instead, it stands for a government that is of, by and for the powerful elite,” Gabbard said. “I’m calling on my fellow common sense, independent-minded Democrats to join me in leaving the Democratic Party.”
Gabbard has grown increasingly estranged from the Democratic establishment since her failed candidacy in the 2020 presidential primary. She has also become a vocal critic of President Biden, denouncing him for “pouring fuel on the flames” of division in the country.
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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised Tulsi for ditching the Democrats in a Tuesday statement on Fox News. I have argued that she is one of many Americans who traditionally have voted blue but now find the Democrats unrecognizable.
“[Gabbard] has always been sort of an independent maverick,” Gingrich said. “And I think when she ran for president, she realized how really isolated she was from the great majority of the Democratic Party, which is now, frankly, a pretty weird party… . I think you’re seeing this drift. And we’ve certainly seen among Latinos a huge drift toward the Republican Party as they’re driven away by the weirder policies of the Democratic Party.”
Fox News Digital’s Anders Hagstrom contributed reporting.