Tags: jim justice | west virginia | governor | republican

Gov. Justice: I Switched Parties for West Virginia's Future

(Fox News "Fox and Friends")

By    |   Tuesday, 08 August 2017 11:54 AM

It was a "tough decision" to switch party affiliations from Democrat to Republican, but at the end of the day, West Virginia's issues made the decision not so hard after all," Gov. Jim Justice said Tuesday.

"Any time you make that decision you say lots of prayers, discuss it with your family," Justice, who announced his decision during a rally with President Donald Trump last Thursday, told Fox News' "Fox and Friends" program. 

"We've got real issues in West Virginia. I've inherited a dog's mess, that's all there is to it."

Justice said that when it "got to crunchtime" and he needed the Democratic party, "They walked away from me, and we've let a lot of people in our state get hurt."

The governor said he has switched parties "for one reason and one reason only. That is to get something done and to do stuff for the great people of West Virginia."

Justice, 66, is a businessman whose family owns coal mines and farms. He funded his own campaign, for the most part, against then-Republican State Senate President Bill Cole, and spoke often during the campaign and after about his friendship with the Trump family, and took Trump's son, Donald Jr., turkey hunting and trout fishing this year.

However, the governor switched his party affiliation to Democrat in 2015, just before running for governor, saying that he wanted to put aside partisan politics and that he had changed his party registration multiple times.

"I am much more suited to be a Democrat because I truly want to be the person who is trying to take up for the little guy," he said at the time.

He said Tuesday Democrats walked away when it got to "crunch time," as they "dove into the ditch" when it came to helping vote in many of his agenda items.

"We had enough Republican votes and Republican Senate right with us and enough Republicans house votes with their votes to get passed my agenda," said Justice. "The reason they dove into the ditch, was just down-right, no good for nothing politics. When they dove into the ditch, everything eroded and lots and lots of our people got hurt."

Trump won big in West Virginia in November, and Fox News host Steve Doocy said he thought that perhaps, when the president last week said he had a big announcement coming in the state, it would be that Sen. Joe Manchin was going to announce he would switch parties.

Justice said he would love for that to happen. Manchin, though, said he will continue to do what he thinks best for the state, and that he doesn't really care if he is not re-elected as a result. 

The governor continued on Tuesday that he wishes people and the press would get off Trump's back.

"I mean, this man is trying," said Justice. "This man is a good man. He really cares. This is not reality TV show. This is serious stuff. I mean you think, our stock market is at all-time high. Unemployment going down the tubes, going away from us completely."

There are real issues all over the world, especially with North korea.

"Don't think Rex Tillerson will show up with like John Kerry, with James Taylor singing 'You've Got a Friend,'" said Justice. "This is real issues and serious stuff."

Justice said he does think the attacks on Trump are energizing him.

"This is a determined man, that's for sure, but at the same time he is caring man, he has a sensitive part to him that a lot of people don't really realize or know," said Justice. "Even if you're a tough guy, that sensitive part you know, it wears on you, and that's why I wish to goodness we would all realize we're Americans."

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It was a "tough decision" to switch party affiliations from Democrat to Republican, but at the end of the day, West Virginia's issues made the decision not so hard after all," Gov. Jim Justice said Tuesday.
jim justice, west virginia, governor, republican
Tuesday, 08 August 2017 11:54 AM
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