Amid ongoing – often contentious – negotiations between Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and the Biden administration over Democrat-backed spending legislation, Fox News reports that the moderate lawmaker floated the idea of leaving the party altogether, though there have since been varying interpretations of exactly what was meant.
Earlier this week, journalist David Corn of Mother Jones magazine broke a story in which he very confidently suggested that Manchin was telling folks on Capitol Hill that he was contemplating leaving the Democrats altogether if Biden and the progressives in the party did not go along with his demand to slash the price tag on the massive social spending bill down to $1.75 trillion.
According to Corn, Manchin was said to have discussed a two-pronged plan to leave the party that involved sending a letter to Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) indicating his departure from the chamber’s leadership structure, and if that did not force the concessions he sought, he would wait a week before switching his voter registration to that of an independent.
Though Corn stated that it remained unclear whether such a move would result in Manchin caucusing with Democrats or with Republicans, though even the hint of a prospect of the latter sent waves of excitement through conservative media in recent days.
In the wake of the Mother Jones story, however, Manchin swifty took steps to quash the rumors, calling the claims it contained “bulls***” and denying that he attempted to use his party affiliation as a bargaining tool with Democrat leaders.
“The only thing that was ever said that we’ve ever talked about if I’m an embarrassment to my, my Democratic colleagues, my caucus, the president being the Democratic leader of the Democrat Party, Chuck Schumer and all them,” Manchin said, according to Fox News.
The senator from West Virginia continued, “I said me being a moderate centrist Democrat, if that causes you a problem let me know and I’d switch to be an independent, but I’d still be caucusing with Democrats. That’s the only thing that was ever discussed, no one accepted that, and I just said, ‘I’ll make that offer if you need it.’”
As Breitbart noted, not everyone was convinced by the lawmaker’s denials, however, with Human Events senior editor Jack Posobiec tweeting on Wednesday, “Manchin denying the story so quickly shows that his team, obviously, was the source of the story. Negotiating tactic. Always say you will walk away from the table.”
Though the idea that one of the Democrat senators who has been a consistent thorn in the side of the party’s far-left wing is certainly appealing, given the confusing back and forth that has occurred over the last several days, the true intentions behind Manchin’s maneuvers remain to be seen.