Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D., N.J.) said Tuesday that many of his Democratic colleagues do not believe in American exceptionalism and do not think the United States is the greatest country on earth.
MSNBC correspondent Garrett Haake asked Van Drew, who is expected to become a Republican in the near future, if there are issues he aligns with the GOP on besides his opposition to impeaching President Donald Trump. Van Drew responded with "American exceptionalism," adding that he believes "many" Democrats don't think the United States is the greatest country in the world.
Van Drew's colleague Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) has criticized the United States for exporting American exceptionalism while failing to uphold its professed values at home.
"We export American exceptionalism. The Great America. The land of liberty and justice," Omar said in a July speech at the Netroots Nation conference. "That is, you know, you ask anybody in, walking on the side of the street somewhere in the middle of the world, they will tell you America the Great. But we don't live those values here."
Van Drew, a freshman congressman from a pro-Trump district, has been critical of his fellow Democrats' push to impeach Trump and announced that he opposes both articles of impeachment issued by the House Judiciary Committee. Trump, who has called Van Drew "very smart," met with him recently to discuss the possibility of changing parties.
Meanwhile, Democrats have dismissed Van Drew's defection as a reaction to his souring chances in next year's Democratic primary. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D., N.J.), however, publicly expressed frustration over his fellow New Jersey lawmaker's party flip. Pascrell on Tuesday appeared to threaten Van Drew, saying, "Do you know how we would have handled this back in Paterson?" He quickly added that he was not advocating for violence against Van Drew.