The more we learn about West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, the less surprising it was that he joined Donald Trump during a campaign event on Thursday and declared that he was switching parties.
During the rally, Justice said, “The Democrats walked away from me.”
He added: “I can’t help you any more being a Democrat governor. So tomorrow I will be changing my registration to Republican.”
It was a nice photo-op for the governor to be standing next to Trump, who won West Virginia by 42 points last November, but there seems to be more to the story than a simple change of heart.
As the swift and forceful response from the Democratic Governor’s Association noted, Justice just so happens to owe millions in unpaid taxes after a deal with a Russian coal company.
The full statement:
“Jim Justice deceived the voters of West Virginia when he ran as a Democrat 8 months ago,” said DGA Executive Director Elisabeth Pearson. “West Virginians have learned that they simply can’t trust Jim Justice. He will always put his financial interests above the needs of West Virginians.
“As Republicans have repeatedly said, Jim Justice owes millions of dollars in unpaid company taxes, after a deal with a Russian coal company. The debts have only worsened during Justice’s term as governor. If President Trump cut a deal, we hope it does not put U.S. taxpayers on the hook to bail out Jim Justice’s personal finances.”
Now that Justice has officially switched over to the same party as Trump, it’s unclear if Republicans, who had previously criticized him for his financial dealings, will be as eager to do so. After all, most GOP leaders in Washington have repeatedly turned a blind eye to Trump’s transgressions.
In any event, it’s no surprise that both men thought it was necessary to join teams at a time when each of them is under fire.
Unpaid taxes? Sketchy financial dealings? Ties to Russian companies? It’s a match made in heaven.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.