Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said on Sunday that he had enjoyed a good relationship with then-President Donald Trump, with whom the senator said he had frequent conversations.
Manchin told USA Today that he “heard the Trump rhetoric forever.”
“I got along well with Donald Trump,” he said. “We had a good rapport.”
“He called me all the time. We talked back and forth,” the Democrat added.
However, Manchin said that Trump “liked conflicts and he liked that turmoil,” which is “fine if you’re in business. But for public service, it doesn’t work.”
“The whole principle of public service is to bring people together to get a consensus. And Donald Trump’s not made that way,” the senator told USA Today. “So when I started coming to that conclusion, I’m thinking that’s just a lot of rhetoric. I didn’t know there was that type of fever and pent-up hatred in people he allowed them to unleash.”
Manchin’s comity with Trump extended beyond friendly conversation: He voted for the ex-president’s agenda more than any other Democratic senator still in office except for fellow conservative Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), with whom Manchin ties at 50.4% in favor of Trump’s agenda, according to a vote tracker put together by FiveThirtyEight.
The West Virginia Democrat also voted to confirm Trump Supreme Court nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of attempted sexual assault. Manchin left the door open to endorsing Trump’s reelection campaign early last year despite having voted to convict him in the then-president’s first impeachment trial.