President Donald Trump rocked a rally at Wildwood, New Jersey on Tuesday, promoting Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who left the Democrat party to become a Republican.
“The Democrat Party is the socialist party, and maybe worse. Voters are making a mass exodus from that party, and we are welcoming them to the Republican party with wide-open arms,” Trump said.
The rally took place at the Wildwood Convention Center which holds up to 8,000 people. Thousands of additional supporters rallied outside the arena.
Trump recalled that Van Drew left the Democrat party because he was disgusted by the Democrat-led effort to impeach the president.
“He left the Democrat party because he’s had enough of their extremism, enough of their socialism, enough of their vile hoaxes and scams; he’s had enough,” Trump said.
The president praised Van Drew as a courageous political figure for having the “guts” to leave the Democrats.
“I have to tell you, I’ve gotten to know him really well the last couple of weeks,” Trump said. “He’s a great guy, he’s a brave guy, he shares our values.”
Van Drew recalled visiting with Trump at the White House and asking him to come to New Jersey to hold a campaign rally for him after becoming a Republican.
“He is here, a man who kept his word, to ensure that eyes of the world are on South Jersey and on all of us,” he said as the crowd roared.
Van Drew described the upcoming 2020 election as a “flashpoint election.”
“Are we going to allow ourselves just to be like any other nation in the world, or are we going to Keep America Great?” he cried.
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, a New Jersey native, also briefly took the stage.
“South Jersey’s my home, Donald Trump’s my president. Melania Trump’s my first lady,” she said. “Life is grea, everyone. Thank you!”
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also attended the rally but he did not take the stage.
Trump said that some of his advisers suggested that he host a rally in the massive Meadowlands stadium in New Jersey, but he wanted to be in South Jersey.
The president mused that he might eventually compete in the state, suggesting he would return to campaign there in the summer.
“They all say Republicans can’t win,” Trump said. “Tell me why?”