West Virginia's Democratic governor stood behind the microphone at a Thursday night rally for President Donald Trump in Huntington and made an announcement that sent the boisterous crowd into overdrive.
“Let me just say this to you as bluntly as I can say it,” Jim Justice remarked. “West Virginia, at the altar, when we had it done, like it or not like it, but the Democrats walked away from me. Now ... today I will tell you that with lots of prayers and lots of thinking, today I tell you as West Virginians, I can’t help you any more being a Democrat governor.”
Justice paused as the audience lit up, then hit them with the following: “So tomorrow, I will be changing my registration to Republican.”
The Trump rally attendees loved it. But the liberal protesters outside the rally? Not so much. At one point they vehemently chanted, "Jim Justice is a traitor! Jim Justice is a traitor!" the Washington Post reported.
"It’s disgraceful," 20-year-old protester Peyton Johnson told the paper of Justice's announcement. “He gets into office on the Democratic values and then switches as soon as he gets in?”
More from the Post:
Justice is a billionaire coal-mining baron and owner of the famed Greenbrier resort and golf course in White Sulphur Springs, and he has known Trump and his family for years, even going hunting with Donald Trump Jr. While Trump was once a Democrat and switched to becoming a Republican, Justice was once a Republican and switched to being a Democrat, only to switch back this week. Like Trump, Justice campaigned on the promise of reviving the state’s struggling coal industry and one of his campaign ads ended with a voice saying, “We need a coal man running this state.” Justice also has a trail of millions of dollars of unpaid fines to federal coal regulators, unpaid bills to suppliers and unpaid taxes to state and local governments throughout Appalachia.
“Now, I can tell you, if you’ll just give me just a moment,” Justice added to the crowd, the Post said, before referring to Trump's presidential campaign. “This man and myself are not politicians. We ran to get something done. We ran and gave up part of our lives. We ran because we want nothing. We ran as our Founding Fathers did years and years ago — to serve.”