Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Monday complained about how he was treated by White House staff and applauded Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for also “fighting the fight” in opposition to the rest of the party.
While President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have largely been treating Manchin with kid gloves — sometimes to the chagrin of other Democrats who urged a more aggressive approach — Manchin painted his treatment as forceful.
“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 they’ll just say ‘okay I’ll vote for anything,’ and just quit,” he said, characterizing the viewpoint of Democratic leaders.
“Well guess what — I’m from West Virginia,” he continued. “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.”
The interview, on West Virginia talk-radio show TalkLine, was his first since he went on Fox News Sunday to announce that he would not support the Build Back Better reconciliation package.
Prompted by host Hoppy Kercheval, he implied that President Joe Biden’s staff had done something in recent days that prompted him to blow up the negotiations, though he refused to elaborate.
“I just got to the wits’ end — they know the real reason what happened,” he said, adding it was “staff-driven” and “not the President.”
“They drove some things, they put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable,” he said.
Manchin spent much of the interview beating his chest as the only Democrat independent enough to stand up to the will of his own party. He threw Sinema a bone at one point, saying that she was also “fighting the fight for some other things she believes in and disagrees with.” Perhaps Sinema’s biggest stand during negotiations was to keep Democrats from raising money for the bill by taxing corporations and the very wealthy.
The West Virginia senator also expressed hope that there is still room for him in the Democratic party, describing himself as “fiscally responsible and socially compassionate.”
“I would like to think that there are still Democrats who feel like I do,” he said. “If there’s no Democrats like that, then they have to push me wherever they want me.”
Manchin gave an interview Sunday with Fox’s Bret Baier expressing his opposition to the bill in its current form, sending Democrats into a panicked scramble as they try to figure out how to salvage the President’s agenda.