Thursday was not a great day for the Democratic Party in West Virginia: Gov. Jim Justice joined President Trump at a rally and declared that he is becoming a Republican. “I can’t help you anymore being a Democrat governor,” Justice told the cheering crowd at the Huntington rally, per Reuters. “So tomorrow I will be changing my registration to Republican.” The coal tycoon, who was a registered Republican until 2015 but was elected as a Democrat last fall, imagined his late mother telling him: “Jimmy, it’s about damn time you came to your senses.” He praised Trump as a “good man” with a “backbone,” and told the crowd of Trump supporters that enough had been heard about Russia.
Trump told the crowd of about 9,000 that he had spoken to the governor in recent weeks about coal and manufacturing jobs, the AP reports. “But Gov. Justice did something else very important tonight. He showed the country that our agenda rises above left or right.” He added: “Having Big Jim as a Republican is such an honor. Fantastic man, fantastic guy.” The New York Times reports that the switch will put more pressure on Sen. Joe Manchin to switch sides and add to the GOP majority in the Senate. But “Joe Manchin has been and always will be a proud West Virginia Democrat,” the senator’s communications director said, adding that Manchin is not interested in a role in Trump’s cabinet.