In a surprise move, President Donald Trump made a switch in party affiliation on Wednesday from Republican to Democrat, the first time in history that an American president has made such a change in the middle of his term. He said his decision was based on “a need to win.”
The move came a day after the Republican Senatorial nominee, Roy Moore, was beaten soundly by Democrat Doug Jones in a special election in Alabama. Mr. Trump had backed Mr. Moore, an endorsement which he denied in an early morning tweet on Wednesday.
“Candidate Moore, who I did not back because of the awful sexual allegations against him, proved last night that Republicans are a bunch of losers. Sad. Time for me to make a change — I am now a Democrat. So let’s go get some wins for the American people!”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was completely caught off guard by the president’s announcement and was not sure how to respond. “Honestly, I’m shocked. This is unprecedented. I’m not even sure that we want him over here. Donald Trump and the Democrats don’t see eye-to-eye on anything. I’ll have to consult with Nancy and other party leaders to determine what our next move will be.”
Sen. Schumer was referring to Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Minority Leader in the House. Asked to comment, Congresswoman Pelosi said: “With the many sexual harassment charges against him, the president’s ruthless dismantling of the Obama legacy, and his reckless and dangerous foreign policy, I don’t see how he would be an asset to our party. I prefer he just stay with the Republicans and gets himself impeached the old fashioned way.”
Veteran political observers say the president’s surprise political maneuver is probably intended to distract or confuse investigator’s in special counsel Robert Mueller’s office who are close to indicting him. It could also help Mr. Trump avoid embarrassment in next year’s 2018 midterm elections if the Democrats succeed at taking back both houses of Congress, which is expected.
Republicans appear to have been caught flat-footed, too, by the president’s announcement that he is now playing for the blue team, but they did not seem particularly concerned or regretful about the defection.
“Good riddance,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader. “The sooner that racist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, moron of a sexual molesting son-of-a-bitch enlists with the other side, the sooner he’ll become Chuck and Nancy’s headache. And I’m fine with that.”
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