U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, says he knows President Joe Biden is "trying to bring everybody together" but he disagreed with the new leader of the free world who worked hard and acted fast to get relief to Americans struggling after a year in a pandemic that had already stolen 400,000 lives the day he was sworn into the Oval Office.
Manchin, ranked by GovTrack as number 54 on a list of Senators where 100 is the most liberal (Lisa Murkowski is ranked more liberal, at number 55,) had a lot to say about former President Donald Trump as well.
"I got along well with Donald Trump. We had a good rapport. He called me all the time. We talked back and forth," the West Virginia Democrat told USA Today. But he says he wasn't aware of Trump's hold on the GOP.
"I didn't know there was that type of fever and pent-up hatred in people he allowed them to unleash."
Manchin is outright blocking President Biden's agenda in the name of "bipartisanship" by refusing to support its critical elements, including HR1 , the voting rights protection bill, along with Biden's ambitious infrastructure bill, the LGBTQ Equality Act, D.C. statehood, killing or at least weakening the filibuster – and using the budget reconciliation process to move bills forward.
“There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster," Manchin wrote one month ago. “The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation."
Instead, Manchin wants to be known as the bipartisan guy, regardless of whether or not Biden's agenda is accomplished.
"I talk to everybody. I have dinner with everybody. If I can find a pathway forward, we're going to find it. You can't find it unless you know people and unless you truly want to be a friend and want to work in an honest way, not a gotcha moment."
Manchin, for example, admits infrastructure is important and decades overdue. To his thinking that just means there's no need to rush.
"Now we're in a situation we don't have that urgency (unlike COVID-19 relief), that time sensitivity, that 'We gotta do this. We gotta do infrastructure.' Infrastructure should have been done 10, 20 years ago. It's not like a do-or-die right now. We can fix it, we should fix it, but it should be based on infrastructure," he told USA Today.
Experts say that every day that goes by makes the actual price tag higher, with even more damage done to critical infrastructure like roads and bridges, and the increased costs due to inflation. There's also "soft" infrastructure, like broadband, which is critical to learning and communications.
Meanwhile, with Manchin being the last Democratic holdout on much of the Biden agenda, blocking both key aspects – the legislation – and the road to pass those bills – killing the filibuster – he's getting a lot of attention on social media.
West Virginia ranks 49th out of 50 states on internet access. Just sayin, @Sen_JoeManchin.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) May 1, 2021
The Koch network is spending $500k to try to keep our democracy broken. The senators they're targeting cannot fall for it.
If Manchin, Sinema, Coons, Tester, Cortez Masto or Hassan are one of your senators, call them and ask them to kill the filibuster! https://t.co/ND1l5nnVib — Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) May 3, 2021
Your daily reminder that @Sen_JoeManchin represents one person: himself.
An opportunistic, transactional wheeler-dealer who plays both sides for his own self interests. pic.twitter.com/PW0tBZTE3z — Don Winslow (@donwinslow) May 3, 2021
Repeat after me: Joe Manchin is NOT a Democrat. Joe Manchin is NOT a Democrat. Joe Manchin is NOT a Democrat. Joe Manchin is NOT a Democrat. Joe Manchin is NOT a Democrat. Joe Manchin is NOT a Democrat. Joe Manchin is NOT a Democrat. Joe Manchin is NOT a Democrat.
— Hunter Cullen 💉💉👠 #NATOArticle5IsComing (@HunterJCullen) May 1, 2021
Sen. Joe Manchin is stopping the Dems by wanting to "Work across the isle", then it should be up to HIM,to get the 10 GOP votes. Drop it all on his desk ,and blame him on a daily basis. No sense in kissing his ass any longer.
— Dave Peters (@dmp2you) May 2, 2021
Manchin seems proud that "'Trump called me all the time.'
Thats not a GD badge of honor. It's a disqualifying admission & telling considering Manchin refuses to break the Filibuster so @SenateDems can pass legislation. Its a guilty plea. https://t.co/6cKOwQBl59 — Southern Sister Resister - Wordsmith #IAmTheStorm (@ResisterSis20) May 3, 2021
Red cloaked in blue Joe Manchin says he wants to make the Congress work again.
From what I see, he's enjoying power and corruption as he helps the GQP use Congress to destroy progress. — Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) May 2, 2021
OK, what does he want? How many federal offices need to be moved out of D.C. to West Virginia to get this deal done?
Manchin opposes D.C. statehood bill, likely dooming its prospects in the Senate https://t.co/xjLb74w7A8 via @CBSPolitics — Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) May 3, 2021
Can someone tell me why Manchin is in the Democratic Party? Real talk. Why? #WokeAF
— Danielle Moodie (@DeeTwoCents) May 2, 2021
So let me get this straight. For roughly 8 years give or take ONE MAN - McConnell single-handedly prevented all progress and the upkeep of America. And now ONE MAN - Manchin- is single-handedly preventing progress and the upkeep of America. WHAT THE FUCK
— Yuiko Murphy🌹🎃 👩👦👦🌈 (@MurphyYuiko) May 1, 2021