West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin returned fire at the White House Monday after it put out a scathing statement slamming him for not backing President Joe Biden’s domestic spending package.
Manchin said in an interview that while he “figured they would come back strong,” they knew that Manchin could not support the bill they were backing.
“You know me, always willing to work and listen and try. I just got to the wit’s end and they know the real reason” things fell apart, Manchin said, referring to the White House.
“[The staff] put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable,” Manchin added. “They know what it is and that’s it.”
The White House had put pressure on Manchin to back the bill in recent days as Senate Democrats raced to pass it before the end of the year, however, Manchin and Biden were unable to reach a compromise on the multiple remaining disagreements over the legislation. Manchin claimed the White House had miscalculated.
“They figured surely to God we can move one person,” Manchin said. “We surely can badger and beat one person up. Surely we can get enough protesters to make that person uncomfortable enough that they’ll just say, ‘OK I’ll vote for anything.’”
“Well, guess what? I’m from West Virginia,” Manchin added. “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 White House out a statement as well on Thursday night that named Manchin three times and alleged that he still backed a $1.7 trillion package and that more negotiating time was needed.
Manchin curtly responded, “I said that was the President’s statement. That wasn’t my statement,” he said.
Manchin officially came out against the bill Sunday morning, stating that he could not explain supporting it to his constituents and that he had concerns over inflation, rising coronavirus cases, as well as geopolitical uncertainty.
The White House responded later Sunday, by saying Manchin’s position was “at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances.”