"They can't beat us at the voting booths, so they're trying to cheat you out of the future and the future that you want", Trump told the crowd.
With Justice's departure from the party, Democrats will now only hold 15 state houses across the country.
The latest developments in the Russian Federation story, together with all the other recent setbacks and scandals, are gradually undermining Trump's support, even among his base.
Hours before the news broke of Justice's switch, the West Virginia GOP Twitter account was still attacking Justice. "He's got a backbone.He's got real ideas". "We take care of our own citizens and put America first". "He showed the country that our agenda rises above Left or Right".
Manchin is that rare species: a Democrat who in many states could easily be a Republican.
"The Democrats walked away from me", Justice told the crowd of thousands gathered at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington.
The president promised throughout the campaign to resurrect the lagging coal industry that has declined amid changing energy markets, leaving many West Virginia communities devastated. "I believe I'll be making it in West Virginia, so that will be very exciting". West Virginia has been a red state since the 2000 election, but elected its first Republican senator since 1959 in 2014.
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Fittingly, he made the announcement in Huntington, West Virginia, at the James C. Justice National Scout Camp, which was named for him. BUT, Justice also said if Manchin was not going to run, he wanted to. He won a whopping 77% of the vote in the Republican Primary, and carried the state with 69%, among his best performances.
In Justice's latest State of the State address, the governor mentioned Trump five times, and said he was good friends with the Trump family. Governor Justice received a mixed reception of scattered boos as he took the stage Thursday night, with political tension from the months of budget negotiations and bathroom renovations at the capitol still fresh. (As of Thursday afternoon, he was still listed as a registered Democrat). He said both his parents were staunch Republicans. Today, Governor Justice joins me and other Republican leaders in Congress and at the state level who stand for policies that will improve the lives of West Virginians.
"I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that over the last two years, the Republican Party and myself in particular have attempted to hold Jim Justice accountable for various proposals and differences with the Republican Party", Lucas said. "While I do not agree with his decision, I have always said that I will work with anyone, no matter their political affiliation, to do what is best for the people of West Virginia".
In the national debate over health care, Justice expressed worries about future health coverage for 175,000 West Virginians in the expanded Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, but declined to push to repeal and replace "Obamacare." What was it? Only this: He's not afraid to come out of the Democratic closet and proudly wear his Republican hat.
Gov. Jim Justice says he switched political parties because West Virginia House Democrats failed to support a tax overhaul he says would have increased the budget and helped veterans, poorer earners, seniors, teachers and people struggling with addiction. He faces a strong challenge from GOP Representative Evan Jenkins, who also switched parties to run for a seat in 2014. The New York Times reported Thursday afternoon that Justice, who was elected governor of the state past year, would reveal at the rally that he was switching parties.
"As Republicans have repeatedly said, Jim Justice owes millions of dollars in unpaid company taxes, after a deal with a Russian coal company", Pearson continued.