Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he is not ruling out endorsing President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign just a week after he voted to impeach the president in the Senate trial, according to a report published Thursday, Feb. 13.
“I don’t rule anything out. I really don’t rule anything out,” Manchin told Politico. “I’m always going to be for what’s best for my country. Everybody can change. Maybe the president will change, you know? Maybe that uniter will come out, versus the divider.”
Manchin is seen as one of the most centrist Democrats in Congress and has voted with the president 56 percent of the time. In 2018, he was the only Democrat to vote in favor of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and has endorsed Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) for re-election.
Manchin pleased his Democratic colleagues by denying President Trump a bipartisan acquittal last week, though he said he was inclined to vote to acquit the president at the beginning of the trial. He said the president’s performance during the State of the Union changed his mind.
“I saw the State of the Union, and I said: ‘It’s not who we are.’ There’s so many good things that we can do better. I hope he changes,” Manchin said. “I’m looking for that person that has heart and soul and compassion.”
Manchin said he plans to hold a series of town halls in West Virginia—a state that backed Trump by more than 10 points in 2016—to explain his vote to convict the president. “I owe it to them,” he told Politico.
President Trump said he was “surprised & disappointed” by Manchin’s impeachment vote, calling him “Joe Munchkin” and “weak & pathetic.”
“I was very surprised & disappointed that Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted against me on the Democrat’s totally partisan Impeachment Hoax. No President has done more for the great people of West Virginia than me (Pensions),” President Trump wrote in a tweet day after his Senate acquittal.
….always continue. Every Republican Senator except Romney, many highly religious people, all very smart, voted against the Impeachment Hoax. @SenCapito was all in (a great person). I was told by many that Manchin was just a puppet for Schumer & Pelosi. That’s all he is!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2020
Manchin said that, although President Trump did his best to defeat him in 2018, the two were having lunch together a week after his third-term re-election.
“It’s not different when he wanted to have lunch the week after I was elected. And he said, ‘I knew we couldn’t beat you.’ And I said, ‘It wasn’t for lack of trying.’ Boom, it’s over, let it go. I did. I’m asking him to do the same thing I did,” Manchin told Politico. “He tried to remove me.”