Fox News contributor Guy Benson told the network’s “Outnumbered” program on Monday he couldn’t understand the White House strategy of railing at Sen. Joe Manchin, the moderate Democrat from West Virginia, after he said on Sunday he couldn’t support the president’s “Build Back Better” bill because it’s too expensive and he believes it’ll add to inflation.
That’s really odd, Benson said, because the White House still needs Manchin’s vote on “everything.”
After Manchin told “Fox News Sunday” anchor Bret Baier he was a “no,” he was attacked by Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont ‘independent’ who initially pushed for a $6 trillion spending bill.
Sanders suggested Manchin was a coward and accused him of not having the “guts” to stand up to special interests and lobbyists.
But the staunchest criticism came from White House press secretary Jen Psaki:
Just as Senator Manchin reversed his position on Build Back Better this morning, we will continue to press him to see if he will reverse his position yet again, to honor his prior commitments and be true to his word.
In the meantime, Senator Manchin will have to explain to those families paying $1,000 a month for insulin why they need to keep paying that, instead of $35 for that vital medicine.
He will have to explain to the nearly two million women who would get the affordable daycare they need to return to work why he opposes a plan to get them the help they need. Maybe Senator Manchin can explain to the millions of children who have been lifted out of poverty, in part due to the Child Tax Credit, why he wants to end a program that is helping achieve this milestone—we cannot.
Benson told the Outnumbered panel that criticism makes no sense.
“That statement that she put out was blistering and I would say somewhat shocking, actually,” Benson said. “Manchin’s decision was not shocking because you are right, Kayleigh, he’s been telegraphing it for months, and he put it in writing in a statement signed by Chuck Schumer.
“We knew what his demands were and Build Back Better did not come close to those demands, so he decided to pull the plug. Maybe we will see something next year very pared down, not really close to BBB, more in line with what Manchin said, but his decision here was not shocking,” Benson continued.
“The calculation of the White House, though: mind-blowing,” Benson added. “They still need Joe Manchin’s vote on literally everything. It’s a 50-50 Senate. They are accusing him of being a liar and acting in bad faith.”
“In that same interview, there is an interesting quote that I will read. He was talking about his place moving forward within the Democratic Party and he said, ‘I would like to hope’ that he still belongs to the party but talking about progressives, if there’s no Democrats like me, paraphrasing, then they — meaning the progressives — ‘will have to push me wherever they want me,’ which is an eyebrow-raiser, is it not?” Benson said.
“A huge eyebrow-raiser,” former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany agreed.
To that point, in October a leading GOP senator pushed Manchin to switch parties, saying he doesn’t need to be associated with a party that champions “inflation” and “lawlessness.”
“There’s still plenty of time he can still switch parties if he wants to, I encourage him to do so,” Sen. Mike Lee of Utah told Fox News host Trey Gowdy.
“There’s no reason why he belongs with the party of inflation, why he belongs with the party of lawlessness, why he ought to remain with the party that’s harassing intimidating and belittling him at every turn, just so they can fundamentally remake the American economy and American society,” Lee added.
“Joe Manchin absolutely should leave the Democratic Party and I look forward to embracing him when he joins our caucus,” Lee continued. “What they see here is that they belittle him and intimidate him enough that somehow he relent. That’s of course, not going to happen.
“Joe Manchin’s got a backbone and he’s got principles, and he’s also got constituents, you know, he represents the good people of West Virginia, including a whole lot of poor and middle-class Americans who are finding that everything they buy from gas to groceries from housing to healthcare, is getting more expensive, unaffordably so, and they’re understanding increasingly that this is happening as a result of federal government,” the Utah Republican said.