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Networks Yawn at Democrat Defecting to GOP Over Impeachment

The networks on Monday morning offered a collective shrug over the news that a Democratic Congressman is switching parties over impeachment. NBC’s Today skipped the story entirely. ABC’s Good Morning America allowed 12 seconds on Congressman Jeff Van Drew and CBS This Morning managed 37 seconds. 

CBS This Morning’s Nancy Cordes made sure to identify Van Drew as a “conservative Democrat,” saying,  “Conservative groups see impeachment as a winning issue for them. They’re targeting House Democrats in 31 congressional districts that President Trump won in 2016. Including New Jersey’s Jeff Van Drew, a conservative Democrat facing a tough re-election.” 

Cordes highlighted the negative reaction he’s faced: “Van Drew’s staffers abruptly resigned. In a letter, they wrote that his switch to the GOP, quote, ‘does not align with the values we brought to the this job.’” 

 

 

Over on GMA, Mary Bruce allowed a quick mention: “The President and Republicans have been putting a lot of pressure on those moderate Democrats up for re-election in districts that trump won and a handful of them are expected to oppose impeachment. One of those Democrats, Representative Van Drew of New Jersey, is actually planning to switch parties joining Republicans ahead of the vote.” 

The Today show avoided the party switch on Monday. In fairness, the network very briefly covered it on Saturday and Sunday in quick mentions. But generally, the networks reset for a news story that occurs over the weekend and give it more coverage.  

Instead, on the Sunday’s Nightly News, correspondent Hans Nichols repeated Democratic annoyance: “Meanwhile, House Democrats are critical of their colleague Jeff Van Drew for his expected defection from his party later this week.” 

On Saturday’s Nightly News, Nichols touted the “heat” coming from a different source: “The New Jersey Democrat reportedly feeling the heat from the president. A Democratic official telling NBC news they expect Van Drew to leave the party.” 

On May 20 2019, after Congressman Justin Amash came out for impeachment, NBC offered a full story on the libertarian. On NBC’s Today, reporter Kristen Welker identified the Freedom Caucus as “far right.” She touted, “The President is under fire from a member of his own party, Michigan’s Republican Congressman Justin Amash, a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus and a frequent critic of the President.” 

Partial transcripts are below. Click “expand” to read more: 

CBS This Morning
12/16/19
7:08

NANCY CORDES: Conservative groups see impeachment as a winning issue for them. They’re targeting House Democrats in 31 congressional districts that President Trump won in 2016. Including New Jersey’s Jeff Van Drew, a conservative Democrat facing a tough re-election, who’s expected to switch parties after being wooed personally by President Trump. On Sunday five of Van Drew’s staffers abruptly resigned. In a letter, they wrote that his switch to the GOP, quote, ‘does not align with the values we brought to the this job.’”  

Good Morning America 
12/16/19

MARY BRUCE: The President and Republicans have been putting a lot of pressure on those moderate Democrats up for re-election in districts that trump won and a handful of them are expected to oppose impeachment. One of those Democrats, Representative Van Drew of New Jersey, is actually planning to switch parties joining Republicans ahead of the vote. 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, the President is touting that ahead of the vote. Meantime, some of those  moderate Democrats you just talked about are pushing to have a former Republican be one of their managers for impeachment in the Senate.  

BRUCE: His name is Justin Amash, Democrats are hoping that adding his conservative voice to make their case against the president will help them appeal to a broader group of Americans and let them make the case this is a bipartisan effort. Justin Amash is a libertarian. He left the Republican Party earlier this year. He is one of the most conservative voices on the hill and he is an outspoken critic of the president. 

Nightly News
12/15/19
6:35

HANS NICHOLS: Meanwhile, House Democrats are critical of their colleague Jeff Van Drew for his expected defection from his party later this week.  

World News
12/15/19
6:08

DAVID WRIGHT: The President and his allies are putting pressure on more than two dozen Democrats running for reelection in districts with at least one big success. Congressman Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey has spoken out in the past against impeachment. 

CONGRESSMAN JEFF VAN DREW: I would imagine I’ll be be voting no. 

WRIGHT: Now the freshman Democrat, facing a tough re-election fight, is expected to cross the aisle and join the Republican party ahead of Wednesday’s vote. President trump tweeted, “Wow, that would be big. Always heard Jeff is very smart!” 

Sunday Today
12/15/19
8:07

WILLIE GEIST: I will mention, Congressman Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, a Democrat, who is expected to even switch parties now and vote in support of the President against these articles of impeachment. The President courted Congressman Van Drew and had him to the White House. What’s the significance of some of these defections? 

Nightly News
12/16/19
6:34

HANS NICHOLS: But ahead of next week’s house vote, a possible Democratic defection. 

JEFF VAN DREW: There is nothing that has turned up that truly is impeachable. 

NICHOLS: The New Jersey Democrat reportedly feeling the heat from the president. A Democratic official telling NBC news they expect Van Drew to leave the party. But even with his anticipated no vote, impeachment on track for a trial in the Senate.