Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin clapped back at critics in his own party after he announced Sunday he would not support President Biden’s massive Build Back Better legislation over concerns it will add to inflation, which is already at a four-decade high.
Manchin told anchor Bret Baier on “Fox News Sunday” that he was a definite “no on this legislation,” which outraged his party’s extreme left-wing faction.
But he followed up with defiant comments Monday in a morning radio interview where he doubled down on his stance and repeated earlier remarks that he isn’t going to be bullied into submission.
The Daily Wire noted:
Joining West Virginia Metro News’ “Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval,” Manchin said that the distance between his position and that of others within his party had proved to be too far, adding, “We’ve been way far apart philosophically.”
Manchin told Baier on Sunday that he could not vote for anything that he believed would worsen inflation — which he said West Virginians were already feeling across multiple aspects of their everyday lives — but that he also could not justify a vote for anything he could not go home and explain to his constituents.
His position, he reiterated during the Monday radio interview, had not changed from the outset.
“I knew where they were and I knew what they could and could not do. They just never realized it because they figured, surely to God we can move one person, surely we can badger and beat one person up, surely we can get enough protesters to make that person uncomfortable enough,” Manchin said.
“Well, guess what? I’m from West Virginia. I’m not from where they’re from, and they can just beat the living crap out of people and think they’ll be submissive, period,” he continued.
Manchin went on to repeat his earlier call for a bill that totals $1.5 trillion in spending, an agreement he made earlier this year with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
Phil Kerpen noted in a tweet, “Reminder, Manchin and Schumer signed an agreement in July, then Democrats spent five months disregarding every provision of it and somehow thinking they could bully Manchin into going along.”
Reminder, Manchin and Schumer signed an agreement in July, then Democrats spent five months disregarding every provision of it and somehow thinking they could bully Manchin into going along. pic.twitter.com/oRKn6zZJWd
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) December 19, 2021
Some of the sharpest criticism of Manchin came from the White House in a statement from spokeswoman Jen Psaki:
Senator Manchin’s comments this morning on FOX are at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances. Weeks ago, Senator Manchin committed to the President, at his home in Wilmington, to support the Build Back Better framework that the President then subsequently announced. Senator Manchin pledged repeatedly to negotiate on finalizing that framework “in good faith.”
On Tuesday of this week, Senator Manchin came to the White House and submitted—to the President, in person, directly—a written outline for a Build Back Better bill that was the same size and scope as the President’s framework, and covered many of the same priorities. While that framework was missing key priorities, we believed it could lead to a compromise acceptable to all. Senator Manchin promised to continue conversations in the days ahead, and to work with us to reach that common ground. If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., meanwhile, said he would welcome Manchin to the Republican Party while expressing shock that Democrats would attack Manchin.
“I was shocked at the vitriol,” McConnell told The Guy Benson Show. “And basically it seemed to me that they were calling Sen. Manchin a liar. I think that was not smart. This is a 50/50 Senate. It’s going to be 50/50 for another year, and believe me, this is not how I would handle a disappointing vote like that.”