Former President Donald Trump spoke Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Texas, and as Fox News reports, he declared his intention to campaign against Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) should he seek reelection in 2024 for facilitating the passage of the $739 billion tax and climate change deal through the reconciliation process.
Despite previously expressing serious reservations about the massive spending bills favored by President Joe Biden, Manchin did something of a turnabout in recent days and signed on to the controversially named Inflation Reduction Act, which ultimately secured passage on Sunday after Vice President Kamala Harris broke a tie vote, as NBC News noted.
During his remarks at the CPAC event, Trump referenced Manchin as well as Arizona Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema as two lawmakers who had become known for taking principled stands against reckless progressive initiatives, but have recently changed course.
“What the happened to Manchin and Sinema, what the hell happened, where did this new philosophy come from,” Trump wondered aloud in advance of Sunday’s vote in the Senate.
“I think if this deal passes, they will both lose their next election, I do believe that, West Virginia and Arizona will not stand for what they did to them,” the former president added.
Speaking a day before the spending bill was in fact approved by the Senate, Trump opined, “Maybe this speech can stop them, because when Manchin hears me say he’s going to lose West Virginia. I’ll go down [there] and campaign against him as hard as anybody can.”
Trump also cast aspersions on Manchin’s integrity when it comes to claims he has made about the supposed benefits of the spending bill, saying that the tax provisions it contains are a “rip off,” and that this is not the first time the senator has demonstrated his untrustworthiness.
Describing their prior interactions, Trump told the crowd, “I got along with him fantastically well, he called me all the time. When the impeachment hoax started, [Manchin] said: ‘I would never vote against you, you’re a great president,'” as Fox News recounted. “Then when we were counting up the numbers…he voted against me,” Trump lamented.
Though Manchin may be momentarily riding high over his instrumental role in helping Biden achieve a rare legislative win, if Trump’s near-perfect endorsement record thus far in 2022 is any indication, he may ultimately come to regret his decision to cross an undeniable political kingmaker who may also be the next Republican presidential nominee.