Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia gave an interview to the Charleston Gazette in which he made clear that he is not feeling any pressure at all. Despite the recent party switch by the State’s Governor and Manchin facing reelection next year in a state Trump won handily, he has no concern whatsoever:
“I don’t give a s–t, you understand? I just don’t give a s–t,” he said. “Don’t care if I get elected, don’t care if I get defeated, how about that. If they think because I’m up for election, that I can be wrangled into voting for s–t that I don’t like and can’t explain, they’re all crazy.”
“I’m not scared of an election, let’s put it that way. Elections do not bother me or scare me. I’m going to continue to do the same thing I’ve always done, extremely independent.”
Manchin was prompted to this outburst by some criticism directed at him by Patrick Morrisey. Morrisey is the Republican Attorney General of West Virginia who announced he was running to unseat Manchin last month. Last week, Morrisey called on Manchin to resign from the Senate leadership team run by Chuck Schumer. From the Washington Free Beacon:
Morrisey says that West Virginians have made it clear they don’t support the policies being pushed by Democrats such as Manchin, who is vice chairman of the Senate Democratic policy committee.
“Being part of the Schumer leadership team means that you don’t have West Virginia’s best interest in mind,” Morrisey told the Washington Free Beacon. “West Virginians don’t support the values of Chuck Schumer—Joe Manchin does.”
On August 1st Senate Democrats Senate sent a letter to Trump, Senate Majority Leader McConnell and GOP Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hatch outlining their policy priorities for tax reform. Only three Senate Democrats; Manchin, Heitkamp, and Donnelly—all of whom are up for reelection next year, refused to sign the letter. On his refusal to sign the letter, Manchin said he was holding out because he hoped he’d be able to reach out to Republicans and win them over. He told the Charleston Gazette, “I want to be able to reach out to my friends on the other side and say, ‘Guys, you like anything here, can we do something different, any changes, what would make you comfortable to sign on?’”
If you believe the GOP is eager to sign on to the next phase of Democratic obstructionism, maybe that explanation will make sense to you. The more likely explanation is that Manchin is taking every opportunity not to associate too closely with the leadership of his own party because he knows Chuck Schumer isn’t very popular in West Virginia. In other words, he really does give a s**t, he just doesn’t want to admit that is what is motivating him.