Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin told reporters on Wednesday that a report claiming that he might leave the Democratic Party is “bullshit.”
“I can’t control rumors,” the moderate told NBC News’ Frank Thorp as he walked outside the Capitol. “It’s bullshit, bullshit spelled with a B-U-L-L, capital ‘B,'” Manchin said of a Mother Jones report that he would leave the Democratic Party over the Build Back Better Act, which party leaders hope to pass through the reconciliation process.
MANCHIN to @burgessev and me on the report he is threatening to leave the Democratic Party if his demands are not met on infrastructure: “I can’t control rumors and it’s bullshit, bullshit spelled with a B, U, L, L, capital ‘B’”: pic.twitter.com/ex8iHMIiSs
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) October 20, 2021
One of the most moderate senators in either party, Manchin chairs the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee and is vice-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC). He is the only Democrat in West Virginia’s congressional delegation, and became the only Democrat elected statewide when Gov. Jim Justice switched to the Republican Party in 2017.
Manchin has repeatedly sparred with the left flank of the Democratic Party throughout Build Back Better negotiations. After he expressed concerns about a green energy provision that could harm West Virginia’s coal industry, Democratic Illinois Rep. Sean Casten joked that West Virginia could remain exempt from it, because the state “is an irrelevant part of our economy.” (RELATED: Manchin Reportedly Outlines Demands For Democrats’ Climate Change, Child Tax Credit Plan)
After Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote an op-ed in Manchin’s hometown newspaper calling on West Virginians to pressure Manchin into supporting the Build Back Better Act, Manchin claimed that it was not “the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them despite having no relationship to our state.”
As a result of these feuds, as well as his positions on issues like abortion, Mother Jones reporter David Corn claimed that Manchin is considering leaving the DPCC in order to send a signal about his displeasure about the negotiations process. If that move did not successfully change the tone and content of the negotiations, Corn wrote, Manchin would then leave the Democratic Party.
Manchin has been the subject of party-switching rumors before, although he has thrown cold water on them every time.
“I’m a good old West Virginia conservative Democrat… I’m still a proud West Virginia Democrat who loves my proud West Virginia Republicans,” he told Fox News’ Bret Baier in December.