Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) expressed immense frustration with the “hostile environment” in Congress because his Democratic colleagues categorically refuse to work with President Donald Trump during an interview Wednesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
Manchin, who has been panned by lawmakers and activists in his own party for signaling a willingness to work with Trump on some issues, praised the president following his first major address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening. Saying that he thought Trump struck a “much better” and more “presidential” tone than he has achieved in the past, Manchin said that was exactly “what people wanted to hear and wanted to see.”
“You have to look for the opportunities to move forward and I’m looking for every opportunity I can to move forward with the president, help me state, help my country.”
“You have to look for the opportunities to move forward and I’m looking for every opportunity I can to move forward with the president, help my state, help my country,” Manchin said. “And that’s what I’m going to do.”
The senator from West Virginia recalled how, before the election, several of his Democratic colleagues asked him what he would do if Trump prevailed over former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“And I said, ‘I’m going to do the same things if Hillary Clinton gets elected president — I’m going to do my job, try to work with him, try to do the best that I possibly can and support where I can and be an honest broker,'” Manchin said. “‘If I disagree, it will be a respectful disagreement, but always with a pathway forward.’ And that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Manchin lamented that the “hardcore Left” has chosen to follow in the footsteps of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who likewise pledged to block former President Obama’s agenda.
“The ‘hardcore Left’ looks back and says, ‘Well, it worked for [the Republicans]. They have both the House and the Senate and they have the presidency. So, why don’t we try the same thing, since it worked for them?'” Manchin said.
“Well, that didn’t work for the American people, I can assure you, and that’s not what they want. Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Manchin said. “I understand that mindset a lot of people are in right now. I don’t subscribe to that.”
Manchin said the partisan hostility has created a “toxic atmosphere.”
“I don’t like the toxic atmosphere that I am in every day. I don’t like coming in to work in a real hostile environment. And it really is,” Manchin told LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham. “We come to work every day, Laura, and they expect me as a Democrat to be against every Republican, to raise money and to go out and campaign against them, which I will not do.”
“But they expect all of my Republican friends to do the same thing, to come in and raise money for the Republican Senatorial Committee and go out and campaign against any Democrat, no matter how well they get along with them or even if you like them,” Manchin added. “And I’ve said this: You want to change the atmosphere? Make it an ethics violation if we all campaign against a sitting colleague.”
The West Virginia GOP questioned Manchin’s sincerity when he talks about cooperation with Trump and noted the Democrat votes with progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) 78 percent of the time.
“Tonight, President Donald J. Trump outlined an optimistic and bold vision for our country that will ensure economic prosperity and liberty for generations to come,” WVGOP Chairman Conrad Lucas said in a statement Tuesday. “President Trump has been fulling the promises he made to the American people at a record-setting pace, including bringing back American jobs, protecting our borders, reigniting the coal industry and nominating a mainstream conservative to the Supreme Court.”
“This evening, President Trump expanded on his plans to pass an aggressive agenda that solves real problems for real people, makes sure every American who needs a good job gets one, and puts our nation’s security first,” Lucas added. “While Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin votes 78 percent of the time with fellow liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren, it is my sincere hope that he does not inhibit the progress Mr. Trump promises for our state and nation as he works to Make America Great Again.”