Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) last-minute announcement that he will vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court triggered fury from many Democrats — including some who’d previously worked for him.
Taylor Barden Golden, Manchin’s former scheduler, took to Facebook after Manchin’s announcement to rip her former boss.
“Never felt better about a decision than I do now about having left Manchin’s office. Opposite of leadership. Pure weakness,” she said in a post.
Golden, who worked for Manchin for a year in 2015, had plenty more to say during a brief phone call.
“This one’s a betrayal,” she said.
Golden argued that she and plenty of other staff had been happy to give Manchin the benefit of the doubt to vote against Democrats when he disagreed with them or needed political cover. She pointed out that Manchin made the same move with the Iran nuclear deal that year, avoiding having to take a position until it was clear his vote wouldn’t matter. But she said the Kavanaugh vote was a “red line” for her — and that she knew some current staff were “livid.”
“I would imagine he’s going to have a little [staff] exodus after this,” she predicted.
Golden wasn’t a Manchin staffer for long, and is now out of politics (full disclosure: She was my realtor and we’re friends). There’s also a clear divide between Manchin’s West Virginia base and his D.C. staff, many of whom including Golden aren’t from Appalachia and are more liberal than the voters he needs. But she’d always spoken highly of Manchin until this vote, and continues to defend her other former bosses, including former Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), another former red-state moderate.
She’s not the only former Manchin hand who was enraged by the announcement.
Will Wasson, a West Virginia native, interned for Manchin a few years ago and appeared in an online ad for the senator earlier this year touting Manchin’s willingness to do the right thing. But he said that Manchin’s vote was the final straw for him as well.
“This vote was a slap in the face of every person who is a survivor of sexual assault and clearly shows that Manchin cares more about getting elected. I’m done wasting my energy hoping that, maybe this time, he’ll stand with liberals,” he told TPM.
Manchin lost 30 percent of the vote in his last primary, largely because of his apostasies with the Democratic base. This vote could help him hang onto the Trump backers he needs to win reelection. But it could also further alienate his small but important liberal base heading into his campaign’s home stretch.