Manchin: We can use the 14th Amendment to remove Cruz and Hawley, you know

Senator Joe Manchin was a guest on PBS’s Firing Line Friday night. Show host Margaret Hoover asked the Democrat from West Virginia if the 14th Amendment should be triggered against Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. Manchin’s response was yes, that should be a consideration.

Joe Manchin is in a unique position now that the Senate is in the hands of the Democrats. With the 50/50 split between Democrats and Republicans and Vice-President Kamala Harris responsible for casting tie-breaking votes, Manchin is seen as a moderate who can work with Republicans to stop the most radical of legislation likely to come before the Senate during the Biden administration. When he mentioned that he thinks it is a good idea to consider using the 14th Amendment against the two senators who led the charge for challenging the Electoral College votes last week, it raises eyebrows. How much can he be counted on to be a reasonable voice in the Senate with Chuck Schumer in charge as Majority Leader?

Is Schumer already putting the screws to senators like Manchin to get in line and do what they can to just get rid of Republicans in the Senate? Probably. Schumer has been front and center since the Capitol Hill riot last week. He has no filter when it comes to accusing Republicans of sedition and other nefarious acts. The third section of the 14th Amendment states that “no lawmaker holding office shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.” Manchin believes the actions of Cruz and Hawley were acts of sedition because they knew what they were doing – appeasing the anger of Trump voters while knowing they didn’t have the power to overthrow the results of the election.

“That should be a consideration,” Manchin responded when asked if the 14th Amendment should be triggered. “He understands that. Ted’s a very bright individual, and I get along fine with Ted, but what he did was totally outside of the realm of our responsibilities or our privileges.”

“I’m totally convinced it was done because of political reasons. This was all politically motivated. This was calculated,” said Manchin. “I believe that all my colleagues truly made a decision that was politically best for them and expedient for them. It was not what they believed to be true or false.”

This is the same conclusion I came to as the two senators jumped out in front to challenge the Electoral College votes. I don’t think the 14th Amendment should be triggered against them but I do agree that they both knew better, they knew they didn’t have the power to do what they were trying to do and that they did it for political gain. It backfired on them when the rioting broke out yet they both continued to vote against accepting the election results. There should be consequences and neither should get far in the 2024 presidential primary, which was the prime motivation for their actions. It was raw political opportunism.

Manchin said he spoke with Josh Hawley while they were hunkered down in a secure location during the riot. He thinks the day’s events were weighing heavily on him.

“I looked at Josh, and I said, ‘Josh, you have a right to do what you’re doing, but think of what’s happening, what you’re seeing on the monitors. Think about, basically, our country,'” he said. “There wasn’t much conversation back and forth on that. He listened to me, and I could tell it was weighing on him, and I was hoping that we were able to maybe change his mind to go up there and stop his objections.”

It wasn’t weighing heavily enough, though, to change Hawley’s mind. He went ahead and voted to reject the verification of the Electoral College votes, as did Cruz.

The 14th Amendment was added to the Constitution after the Civil War and it is meant to address sedition.

“That those people should never hold public office, they should never have the public microphone, they should never be allowed to be in a position of power or of decision-making, or purpose, because they’re going to serve themselves,” he said.

Manchin, however, said there was “no way” the Republican senators could not be considered complicit in the day’s events.

“That they think they can walk away and say ‘I just exercised my right as a senator?’ Especially after we came back here and after they saw what happened,” he said.

“I want to see all of those people that made the objection and stuck with their objection … were you sending out fundraising requests while this was going on — the insurrection to our Capitol — tell me that,” he told PBS.

The fundraising letters sent out during that day show that it was an opportunistic move by both senators. Cruz tries to give himself some cover by saying he called off the plea for money “within minutes” after the violence began. Minutes is all it takes, though, for a fundraising letter to be sent to thousands of constituents and supporters. Josh Hawley wrote an op-ed to say he didn’t incite violence and blames the media for pushing that narrative. Like Cruz he says he was just asking questions on behalf of his constituents, showing concern about election integrity.

“Some wondered why I stuck with my objection following the violence at the Capitol,” Hawley added. “The reason is simple: I will not bow to a lawless mob, or allow criminals to drown out the legitimate concerns of my constituents.”

Hawley said constituents had contacted him about concerns over election integrity after Trump’s loss in states he doesn’t represent.

Both Cruz and Hawley continue to be called on to resign. The fall-out continues. Yesterday Loews Hotels in Orlando canceled a fundraising weekend event for Hawley. I do question, though, why the hotel chain waited so long to cancel it if they were so “horrified”. Seems like it is just piling on.

Loews Hotels announced Saturday it would no longer hold a fundraiser for Republican Sen. Josh Hawley in Orlando next month, saying it was horrified by the Capitol insurrection and “all who supported and incited the action.”

The fundraiser, billed as a “fun-filled-family-friendly” weekend in Orlando, was scheduled for Feb. 12-15 by “Fighting for Missouri,” a political action committee.