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Pennsylvania sheriff leaves Dems, switches to GOP due to party’s ‘socialist agenda’

A sheriff in Pennsylvania told “Fox & Friends” on Monday that he changed his political affiliation to Republican because of the “shift in ideals of the Democratic Party at the national level,” including a “socialist agenda.”Fayette County Sheriff James Custer said he switched to the Republican Party after considering the move for several months. He noted that the coronavirus pandemic and the related restrictions helped influence his decision.“It probably started back when the pandemic started and the mandates coming down by the Democratic governors,” Custer said, noting that he feels those orders “are unconstitutional.”He went on to say that, as a sheriff, it is his “duty” to “protect, serve and uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States” and he believes the “mandates being brought down on our citizens” are “unconstitutional.” Custer stressed the importance of “being able to protect their rights and freedoms under the Constitution.”Last week, Pennsylvania was hit with new restrictions as positive coronavirus cases continue to explode throughout the state.Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf held a press conference on Thursday afternoon announcing the newest rules, which include a ban on all indoor dining, as well as closing gyms, theaters and other indoor entertainment for three weeks. Outdoor dining and takeout are still allowed to remain open.Additional temporary restrictions were revealed, which limit gathering sizes to 10 people inside and 50 outdoors, and ban spectators from attending in-person professional and collegiate sports. High school and youth sports have been suspended.The new rules will go into effect 12:01 a.m. Saturday and remain in place until 8 a.m. Jan. 4, according to a tweet from the governor.In September, Custer and Fayette County District Attorney Rich Bower announced they had changed their political affiliations to Republican, the Herald-Standard reported.TRUMP SAYS DEMS’ ‘WAR ON COPS’ PUTS ‘POLICE LIVES IN DANGER,’ CALLS FOR END TO BIDEN’S ‘ANTI-POLICE CRUSADE’At the time, Custer and Bower reportedly attributed the switch to their beliefs aligning more with Republican ideologies versus those of the Democratic Party, especially as it pertains to abortion and support of military and law enforcement.On Monday, host Ainsley Earhardt asked Custer if the “defund the police” agenda factored into his decision to switch parties. Custer, who noted that he has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, replied that it was “a definite factor.”“Starting back from the George Floyd incident and all the civil unrest and the calls for ‘abolish the police,’ ‘defund the police’ that was part of factoring in to my decision that, ‘hey, this is not what I signed up for,’” Custer told Earhardt.Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody in May sparked a rallying cry from thousands of protesters, politicians and community leaders across the country to defund or dismantle police departments.President Trump pushed back against the proposals, and during a White House roundtable discussion in June insisted that “there won’t be defunding, there won’t be dismantling of our police.” He went on to note that law enforcement officers involved in excessive abuse of power and savagery were “bad actors” and were not indicative of the entire police force. In a Fox News interview in June, Attorney General William Barr said defund and dismantling pushes were both “dangerous” and “wrong.”Custer noted on Monday that there are “plenty of people out there that are backing us” and that is why he was one of the many sheriffs in Pennsylvania who endorsed “President Trump as our law and order president.”“That was part of the movement, a big part of it at the time,” he continued.Also in September, another Pennsylvania sheriff, who describes himself as a lifelong Democrat, announced he was backing President Trump amid nationwide unrest and the calls to defund police.Westmoreland County Sheriff James Albert told “Fox & Friends Weekend” in September that after more than 40 years in law enforcement as a Democrat, he was switching to the Republican Party.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPAt the time, Albert said, “The silence of the Democratic Party” amid the unrest, looting and “assaults on law enforcement” was “deafening.”Fox News’ Alexandra Deabler, Caleb Parke and Hollie McKay contributed to this report.



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